What is an Area of Need (AoN) and what is it for?
AoN is a location in which there is a recognised lack of specific medical practitioners or where there are medical positions that remain unfilled even after recruitment efforts have taken place over a period of time.
AoN for general practitioners is restricted to rural and outer metropolitan regions but can be applied to positions in either the public or private sector. For Western Australia (WA) the program is managed by WA Health. The AoN Database (PDF) lists all positions and locations in WA which have a current determination for AoN.
The program supports health service providers who are experiencing a medical workforce shortage and can demonstrate that they have been unable to recruit an Australian-trained medical practitioner to the vacant position.
Once AoN is granted, employers are able to extend their recruitment program to include international medical graduates (IMGs) not currently registered in Australia.
Under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (WA) Act 2010, a location must be recognised as an AoN to allow the Medical Board of Australia to grant limited medical registration to the IMG and enable their employment at that location. Applications are considered by the WA Health Chief Medical Officer and approved by the West Australian Minister for Health.