District of Workforce Shortage

District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) is a key mechanism that the Australian Government uses to achieve an equitable distribution of medical services across Australia.

Page last updated: 06 June 2016

In general, a DWS is a geographical area in which the local population has less access to Medicare-subsidised medical services when compared to the national average for that type of service. Your BMP agreement contains the definition of DWS that applies to you in relation to your medical discipline and your Return of Service Period obligations. DWS are subject to change, so you should check whether a particular location is a DWS on DoctorConnect.

General Practitioners

The DoctorConnect locator map shows current DWS locations for general practitioners. Under the BMP Scheme, GPs can undertake their Return of Service Period in any location that falls in a DWS other than an Inner Metropolitan Area.


Under the BMP Scheme, specialists can work in any location other than Inner Metropolitan Areas of major capital cities. Specialists may only work in a location classified as an Inner Metropolitan Area, if that location is a DWS for the chosen specialty.

For advice on the current DWS status of a medical specialty (other than general practice) in an Inner Metropolitan Area, email BMPScheme@health.gov.au and provide the practice address and type of specialty.

Further Information