Doctors on the move: National estimates of geographical mobility among general practitioners in Australia

Soumya MAZUMDAR, Ian McRae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to examine the geographical mobility patterns on a national level of general practitioners (GPs) across degrees of rurality. While this is a topic with great policy implications, negligible published research exists in Australia on this topic.

METHODS: Publicly available data for all registered GPs with specialist 'general practice' registration for 2011 and 2013 were obtained from the Australian Health Professional Registration Agency (AHPRA) and analysed.

RESULTS: Annually, about 10% of Australian GPs have changed their principal place of practice (PPP), and about 1% of GPs moved between states. A net move into major cities was observed. Major cities were the most favoured destination of GPs moving out of a remote area, and the largest source of GPs moving into remote and very remote areas. Among GPs, there was a gradient of increasing distances moved with increasing rurality.

DISCUSSION: This study shows for the first time that annually, about 10% of GPs change their PPP over a short time period. The drift of GPs away from rural areas indicates that policymakers should focus on recruitment and retention in these areas, preferably providing incentives for moving specifically from metropolitan areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-751
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Family Physician
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015


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