Cessation of Vocational Register

20 Aug 2020

The recent passing of the Health Insurance Amendment (General Practitioners and Quality Assurance) Bill 2020 means that the red tape around GP recognition has been streamlined. The changes in the Bill mean that the term ‘general practitioner’ will be redefined under the Health Insurance Act, the Vocational Register will become a legacy program for existing members, and the administrative process for recognition as a specialist general practitioner (GP) for Medicare purposes will be simplified.  

From 16 June 2021, GPs registered with Medical Board of Australia in the speciality of General Practice will be automatically eligible for higher rebates with Medicare. Ongoing eligibility will be dependent only on maintaining the speciality registration status with the Board. 

Under the new arrangements, GPs, like other specialists, will have greater choice when it comes to undertaking their continuing professional development, including undertaking a self-directed program provided it meets the CPD requirements set by their relevant specialist college for their speciality.  

Grandfathering and transitional provisions will be implemented to manage those practitioners affected by the changes. The intention of the provisions is to ensure that no medical practitioner who currently has access to higher rebates will be disadvantaged.  

A transition period of 12-months has begun and will ensure those medical practitioners affected by the changes have time to comply with the new arrangements. Below are the categories of GPs these changes apply to and what action they will need to take:  

 GP Fellows   

  • If you have been awarded fellowship as a GP, you must be registered as a specialist GP with the Medical Board of Australia prior to 15 June 2021 to maintain access to higher Medicare rebates.   
  • For information about applying for specialist registration please go to  www.medicalboard.gov.au and search for ‘specialist registration’.  

VR Practitioners    

  • Vocationally registered general practitioners who maintain ongoing general registration with Ahpra will remain on the register and retain access to higher Medicare rebates.   

Former VR Practitioners   

  • GPs who have been on the Vocational Register at some point who wish to apply for re-inclusion to the vocational register must do so before 15 June 2021. If you are not on the vocational register by this date, you will be unable to return.  

You can view the requirements for re-inclusion and apply by downloading and completing the Application for Vocational Registration of General Practitioners (HW060) form available at servicesaustralia.gov.au/hpforms