There’s a big shortage of doctors in Australia, especially in rural areas. But now a move to the country has become much more lucrative.

When starting their careers, many doctors will stick to metropolitan areas for the obvious reasons of staying close to home, maintaining relationships and lifestyle.

However, many doctors don’t know the full potential of what working in a rural area could mean. Now, it’s become an even more interesting prospect, with the federal government putting $65 million toward paying country doctors more.

Money motivates. And it’s hoped that the extra cash will lure more doctors out, and help cover the massive shortage of GPs in the regional areas of Australia.

So, as a doctor, could a move to the country be the sea change you need?

The Positives: 

More Remote, More Money

Under the new government scheme, doctors could see their annual salary increase up to $50,000 a year.

Cost per consultation will increase too, with very remote communities seeing a rise from $9.80 per consult to $12.35, which can be very attractive to doctors wanting to get more out of their daily consults.

Other areas such as remote communities, small and medium rural towns will also see a rise on consultation costs. 

Helping Disadvantaged Communities 

Granted, this is more of a personal motivation than a government incentive. However, for many doctors, providing care to communities who don’t have the same access to health services as metro areas is very important.

Moving to a new town, meeting new people and tackling medical issues you may not have seen before leads to an abundance of personal and professional growth.

More Work Available

As a doctor working rural, there’s never a dull moment. You’ll be busy from day one, and will have the freedom to offer a wide range of services while working the hours that suit you best. 

This can be an attractive incentive, as most metro offices set rigid working hours that don’t always work for your lifestyle.

Enticing Incentives

There are other benefits from the government other than cash, too. You can pay your HECS debt off in two years, which could take much longer in a conventional doctor’s role in a metro area.

If you’re a doctor from another country coming to Australia, working in a rural area will enable you to access Medicare much faster as well.

Potential risks:

Lifestyle loss

One of the downsides to moving rural is less access to things like shopping, entertainment and dining. Rural areas can limit these kind of lifestyle factors, which is is important to people with these interests. Adjusting to living simpler can take time but once adjusted, living the country life can be enjoyable and offer other opportunities such as access to the great outdoors and other benefits. 

Loneliness

Everything is a further away with remote communities, so something like going for the weekly grocery shop can lead to a long drive. Also seeing friends and family can take a chunk of time due to long drives and even plane trips. While you’ll no doubt miss your loved ones, it will be key to build new connections and relationships if a rural move is for you.

Adjusting to a Different Pace in Life

The lifestyle of rural communities can be slower, where everyone knows each other like neighbours. This can be challenging, especially if you’re a doctor who is used to an extreme pace. But the benefit will likely be less exposure to burn out and stress.

Get Advice

If you’re thinking of making the move to practice in a rural area, get advice about whether or not it’s right for you and your wealth strategy by talking to medical accounting and wealth professionals. Contact us now.

The information contained on this web site is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser.

Taxation, legal and other matters referred to on this website are of a general nature only and are based on Nitschke Nancarrow’s  interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Those laws may change from time to time.

Nitschke Nancarrow specialises in accounting, tax and financial advice for superannuation. Contact us now for a no obligations discussion about your needs.

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