Health Workforce Fund
Discussion Paper on Development of
PURPOSE OF THE CONSULTATIONS
The intent of this consultation process is to provide information on the Health Workforce
Fund (HWF) and to seek stakeholder comments and input to contribute to the development of
Fund Guidelines, with a particular focus on the proposed HWF objectives and priorities.
Information on how to provide comments is at Attachment 2a.
The Australian Government aims to ensure Australians have a better, more sustainable health
system now and in the future. To achieve this outcome, the Government will act to make best
use of the skills and capacity of the available health workforce, address health workforce
shortages and maintain appropriate standards for health practitioners.
Following a recent review of administrative arrangements in the Health and Ageing Portfolio,
the Australian Government has established the HWF. This fund will bring together programs
that support the delivery of a high quality, well distributed future health workforce. The fund
will also enable emerging priorities within the health workforce to be supported through
better targeting of existing investments. The HWF does not include support for the aged care
workforce, as this is covered by the Aged Care Workforce Fund.
There are 26 programs that have been consolidated within the HWF (Attachment 1). These
programs were implemented over time to address specific and diverse needs of the
community. These activities, along with additional activities that are consistent with the
objectives and priorities of the HWF, will be considered for future funding under the HWF
arrangements. These programs can be further consolidated
There is a continued commitment within the fund to key priorities including programs that
increase training opportunities, assist retention and provide support to doctors, nurses and
allied health professionals. The total value of funds available under the HWF is $3.7 billion
over the period 2011-12 to 2014-15.
BENEFITS OF PROGRAM CONSOLIDATION AND ESTABLISHMENT OF
The process of program consolidation and establishment of flexible funds is designed to
achieve the following benefits:
Reduced red tape. Under the new arrangements, funding recipients will benefit from a
significantly streamlined set of arrangements. In many cases the number of funding
agreements will be reduced over time to just one, meaning fewer contact points within the
Department and a resultant reduction of administration and reporting burden.
Increased flexibility to respond to emerging issues and anticipate change. A key
outcome from the establishment or expansion of the funds is the increased flexibility to
respond to emerging health and ageing priorities.
Better value for money, quality and evidence based funding. Grant funding is an
important mechanism used by Government to support activities across a large range of
priority areas, with the ultimate goal of delivery better health and ageing information and
outcomes for the community. Bring together small programs to create a number of larger
funding pools will increase the number of applicants seeking funding from the one
source, improving the quality of applications and consistency of merit between funded
Under the new arrangements, fund guidelines and the approach to fund management will
emphasis the need for high quality evidence based submissions, demonstrating relevance to
contemporary health challenges and identified priorities, as well as with a focus on value for
FUND OBJECTIVES AND PRIORITIES
The HWF is designed to ensure that Australians have access to an improved health workforce
through education, training, recruitment and distribution programs for the medical workforce,
the nursing workforce and for allied health professions.
Broadly, the Fund’s primary objective is to strengthen the capacity of the health workforce to
deliver high quality care by targeting the following priority areas:
Increase the supply of workers in all health professions - and take into account the
changing demographics of the Australian population, and to facilitate a more even
distribution of workforce in terms of geography and of the types of services provided;
Ensure a capable and qualified workforce - through registration, accreditation,
training and development;
Support the Indigenous health workforce – through activities that promote an
increase in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce and increase the
capacity of the broader health workforce to address the needs of Indigenous people.
Address health workforce shortages in regional, rural and remote Australia –
through, for example, rural workforce programs and better targeting of workforce
Fund priorities may be adjusted from time to time to take into account evidence about the
effectiveness, efficiency and appropriateness of fund activities, as well as emerging health
ACTIVITIES THAT REMAIN IN AND OUT OF SCOPE
The Fund consolidates activities from a number of existing programs, and will provide a
flexible funding pool for services that make best use of the skills and capacity of the available
health workforce, address health workforce shortages and maintain appropriate standards for
The HWF does not include support for the aged care workforce, as this is covered by the
Aged Care Workforce Fund.
EXTENSION TO EXISTING ARRANGEMENTS
Funding arrangements under the HWF will take a number of different forms. A number of
programs that have been consolidated into the fund will continue to operate with the same
arrangements as they have previously. Some contractual arrangements have been extended to
30 June 2012, while others are already in place and continue beyond 1 July 2012.
ACCESS TO THE FUND
Access to funding from the HWF will be available via a variety of means. Given the nature
of the HWF and its priorities, a significant proportion of available funding is expected to be
allocated as targeted incentives to individuals (eg: through training places and scholarship
programs). However, the Department may, on occasion and as appropriate, undertake the
following to achieve the aims, objectives and priorities for the fund:
Open Grant Rounds
Competitive funding rounds which open and close to applications on nominated dates, with
eligible applications being assessed against the selection criteria set down for the initiative
and then prioritised against competing, eligible applications for the available funding may be
undertaken to achieve the Fund Aims Objectives and Priorities.
Targeted Grant Rounds
Funding may also be made available through targeted or restricted competitive funding
rounds from time to time to meet the aims, objectives and priorities for the Fund. These grant
rounds will be open to a small number of potential funding recipients based on the specialised
requirements of the initiative or project under consideration.
Entitlement arrangements/ demand driven programs
Funds appropriated for the purpose of the Health Workforce Fund may also be used for
entitlement and demand driven programs, e.g. the Practice Nurse Incentive Program and the
HECS Reimbursement Scheme. The application process and detailed selection criteria for
each individual entitlement and demand driven program is detailed in program guidelines
available on the Department of Human Services website.
Funds appropriated for the purpose of the Health Workforce Fund may also be used for the
procurement of work directly related to the purpose of the Fund e.g. Program Evaluation.
Such procurements will be undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the
Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines and will be for purposes that are consistent with the
aims, objectives and priorities of the Fund.
One off/ unsolicited activities
One off/unsolicited activities may be funded outside of grant rounds on the provision that the
activity meets the aims, objectives and priorities of the HWF.
Funding allocations will be monitored throughout the year with potential underspends
identified. Applications identified as being able to meet Fund aims and objectives, and not
receiving funding through an open or targeted grants round will be prioritised and shortlisted
for consideration should such underspends be identified.
Under expenditure may also be used to fund unsolicited proposals or one-off grants where
such proposals will meet the Aims, Objectives and Priorities for the Fund.
PROPOSED CONTRACTUAL ARRANGEMENT
Successful applicants funded under the Fund will be required to enter into a funding
agreement or alternative contractual arrangement with the Commonwealth (represented by
the Department or the Department of Human Services (Medicare) for entitlement type
A copy of the proposed contractual arrangement will form part of any material that forms the
basis of a grant or procurement process under the HWF.
Activities to be supported under the Health Workforce Fund include those currently
Radiation Oncology Specialist - Strengthening Cancer Care program - Training and development
General Practice Training - Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program
HECS Reimbursement Scheme
Telehealth - Training of Health Professionals
COAG Health Workforce GP Training Places - Australian General Practice Training (AGPT)
- Consolidation of Specialist Training Simplifying Australian Government Support for Medical
Specialist Education and Training
- Educational Support projects
- Diagnostic Imaging: Enhancing Rural and Remote Workforce Scheme
International Recruitment Strategy (IRS) - Overseas Trained Doctors Additional Assistance Scheme
Health Workforce Innovation and Reform
Supporting Emergency Medicine Workforce
Practice Nurse Incentive Program
Nursing and Allied Health Scholarship and Support Scheme and Maternity Services Review - GP
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Services – Puggy Hunter Scholarship
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Service:
- supporting Indigenous doctors, nursing and other health professional bodies
- provision of education, training and mentoring of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
Workers in the Aboriginal community controlled health sector
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce Services - Dental Health Training
Rural and Remote General Practice Program
National Rural and Remote Health Workforce Program
- Bush Services Support program
Rural Health Workforce Strategy - Scaling Rural Workforce Communications
- Rural Health Champions Program
- development and dissemination of information and publications
- video productions aimed at attracting GPs to practise in rural areas
Rural Locum Education Assistance Program
Supporting Rural Health - Specialist Obstetrician Locum Scheme
Nursing Rural Locum Scheme
Allied Health Rural Locum Scheme
Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) Program
Rural Australia Medical Undergraduate Scholarship (RAMUS) Scheme
Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship (MRBS) Scheme
Rural Health Continuing Education Sub-Program (RHCE)
Rural Procedural Grants Program
How to provide input or comment
You are invited to provide written comment on the HWF discussion paper, particularly on
proposed objectives and fund priorities. Comments can be emailed to the Department of Health
and Ageing (DoHA) at firstname.lastname@example.org by COB 31 OCTOBER 2011.
Please provide your comments in the template provided at the end of this document
Confidentiality of submissions
Submissions will be made available on the departmental website. If you wish your submission (or
part of it) to be treated as confidential, please advise us. Note that general disclaimers in covering
emails will not be interpreted as specific requests for submissions to be treated confidentially.
The Department will, however, use its best endeavours to ensure that any information identified
as sensitive is treated in-confidence.
Address for submissions
Submissions should be emailed to: email@example.com.
Questions relating to submissions
Any questions relating to submissions should be directed to the following email address:
HEALTH WORKFORCE FUND
Comments on the Discussion Paper
1. Stakeholder details
Name of Organisation
Contact details: phone, fax and e-mail
Legal Status (eg. incorporated, non-profit)
Australian Business Number (ABN) or
Australian Company Number (ACN)
Key Contact person and contact details
Subject Your comments (including alternative
suggestions and justification)
a) Proposed objective of the Fund
b) Proposed Fund priorities (including your
comments about priorities that can be
considered in future funding rounds)
c) General comments on the discussion paper
for example any perceived omissions or
anomalies and suggested alternative
d) Form/design of funding and agreements
What length of funding agreements would
best suit your organisation (eg one year, three
years etc), noting that the length of
agreements would have a necessary impact
on the frequency of invitations to apply? For
longer-term agreements, what kind of
deliverable monitoring mechanisms work
well for your organisation (eg long-term
deliverables fixed on contract execution; or
detailed workplans reviewed and agreed
annually within the contract period)?
e) Capacity to participate in competitive
Has your organisation previously applied for
contestable funding from Government?
Would your organisation need special
assistance or guidance to apply for funding?
If so, what kind of assistance?
f) Information channels and
What is the best way for the Department to
contact you about future developments in the
Department’s Flexible Funds (eg Health
website, email, post)? Are you represented
by a peak organisation or other representative
body? If so, which? Would you prefer your
application to be consolidated as part of a
broader package prepared by an advocacy
g) Other relevant information (for example any
economic or research based evidence
supporting the key points discussed in the
paper or in your comments)