Understanding Approved Medical Deputising Services

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​In Australia, there are vocationally and non-vocationally recognised doctors. The former are fellows of either ACRRM, RACGP, or practitioners listed on the vocational register before 1997. On the other hand, the latter are those working in general practice who do not hold a fellowship. This means that they are not vocationally recognised as general practitioners by Services Australia

But, can both vocationally recognised and non-vocationally recognised doctors provide deputising services to patients after hours? In this article, you will learn about what the AMDS program is, how it works, and how a medical practitioner can join this program.

What is the Approved Medical Deputising Services Program?

The Approved Medical Deputising Services (AMDS) program is regulated by the Australian Government Department of Health, and this health agency is responsible for the formulation of policy, guidelines, and the maintenance of the program.

Generally, the AMDS program was made to give an opportunity, especially to the non-vocationally recognised (Non-VR) doctors, to gain general practice experience after hours. Through the use of the AMDS program, the non-VR doctors would be able to access some general practice items in the Medicare Benefits Schedule (group A7, A2, and some items in A11). This means that they can be admitted to Medicare Benefits for providing after-hours healthcare services. 

Furthermore, AMDS program participants can provide after-hours deputising services at the following places:

  • Clinic

  • Residential aged care facility

  • Patient’s home

Take note that the after-hours period is between 6 pm to 8 am on weekdays, the hours before 8 am and from 12 noon onwards on Saturday, all day Sunday, and public holidays.

How Does the Approved Medical Deputising Services Program Work?

There are times when patients need urgent care and they can no longer wait for the next available scheduled appointment for them to be treated. This makes the AMDS program necessary especially when the patient's specific general practitioner cannot provide services outside business hours.

Although The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners recognises after-hours as non-conventional practices, when these services are accredited in the Approved Medical Deputising Services Program, it will be a certainty that patients are accessing qualified and safe healthcare services. This will also reduce the need for patients to attend an emergency department in the after-hours setting.

Generally, the AMDS program works by making it easier for the community to access the service of a medical professional anytime they need it. At the same time, providing benefits to doctors where they offer their services outside business hours.

How to Apply for the AMDS Program

In August 2020, the Australian Government Department of Health issued the AMDS Program Guidelines. In these guidelines, the interested AMDS participants will see if they are eligible in the program, and eventually, will learn the application process.

For Medical Deputising Services

Medical Deputising Services who want to participate in the AMDS program should have the following standards:

  • The medical deputising service should be fully accredited and have been operating for more than 12 months.

  • Services must be clinically governed by a medical director.

  • Services must not be co-located with a medical practice and must operate a clinical triage protocol.

  • Services must operate only for the entire Commonwealth-defined after-hours period.

If these criteria are met, the application will be the next step. An application form will be filled out and will then be submitted to the Department of Health.

For Doctors

There are also some requirements for doctors who want to participate or join in the AMDS program. These include the following:

  • Must hold a temporary or permanent residency in Australia.

  • Must be a non-VR doctor actively working towards the ACRRM or RACGP fellowship.

  • Must be registered with the Medical Board of Australia.

  • Level 1 Advanced Life Support course certificate holder.

  • Must have at least 2 years of postgraduate experience in the following fields:

    • Paediatrics

    • Accident and Emergency

    • Medicine and Surgery

Once all of these are met and the Department of Health approves the application, the doctor will be given an initial 2-year AMDS doctor placement. Although this can be renewed every year, the Department of Health will only grant the extension if the non-VR doctor is actively towards the said fellowship.

The AMDS program can be viewed on the Australian Government Department of Health website.

For supplemental AMDS program application process support and placements, you might want to consider recruitment agencies like Medical Recruitment.  

Since 1986, Medical Recruitment has been specialising in GP recruitment, thus, consultants from the company have expert knowledge in the space. If you’re looking for an exciting opportunity to work as a permanent or locum GP job or even for a GP role after hours, then look no further - get in touch with our Recruitment Consultants now.​​​