Ending the discrimination against so-called "Non-VR" GPs

The plight of the (so-called) "Non-VR" GP:

  • Exact same work
  • Exact same standard of medical care
  • Exact same medical qualifications
  • Exact same patient responsibility

      HALF the Medicare payments...



Explanation of the current “VR” versus “Non-VR” GP system in Australia.

There is a vast pay discrepancy between the “two classes” of Australian-born and trained General Practitioners (GPs) operating in Australia today:


   1)      “VR”: “Vocationally Registered” General Practitioners

   2)      “Non-VR”: "Non-Vocationally Registered" General Practitioners


The above two "classes" of GPs are identical in every way, except in how much they get paid.


  • Both have to give the exact same level of patient care (unsupervised)
  • Both have the right to order whatever medical tests, or prescribe any medical intervention, they deem appropriate
  • Both have to take the exact same level of patient responsibility
  • Both have to pay the exact same level of professional indemnity insurance
  • Both are recognized as identical by the Medical Board of Australia



So-called “VR” GPs get double the remuneration from Medicare

than so-called “Non-VR” GPs.


All qualified GPs in Australia are able to practice in every geographical area. "VR" and "Non-VR" GPs practice identically, with identical responsibilities, wherever they work.


If a “Non-VR” GP wants to be paid normal Medicare payments however (i.e.: bureaucratically, they're now called “VR” GP Medicare payments) they have to apply to work in a remote area or other bureaucratically-designated "area of need”. 


If, however, they do practice outside so-called “areas of need”,

they will be paid

only half the Medicare payments of a “VR” GP, for identical work and responsbility.

How did this bureaucratic policy start?

Prior to 1996, the criteria for being able to work as a General Practitioner in Australia were to graduate in Medicine from university and subsequently work two years in the public hospital system.


The “Vocational Register” was set up in 1989 by the Federal Government of the time. It is a list of names held by the Health Insurance Commission. General Practitioners were encouraged to sign onto the "register" before the cut-off date; those who signed were automatically "grandfathered" onto the "register" and given “VR” status.


The criteria for signing on to the “VR” at the time were 5 years experience in general practice. The majority of GPs in Australia today were "grandfathered" in this way. Most GPs who graduated between 1989 and 1996 therefore missed out.


So called “Non-VR” GPs thus represent a cohort of GPs who graduated between about 1989 and 1996, plus a smaller group of doctors who graduated before that date. In total there are approximately 4,750+ “Non-VR” GPs, nationwide.


There was, and is, no difference in the training or standards of a GP who graduated in the mid 1980s vs. the early 1990s. Some so-called “Non-VR” GPs have over 30 years of practical experience.


Within a few short years of the government’s new system, “Non-VR” GPs were getting paid significantly less than “VR” GPs, for identical work. Since 1992, “Non-VR” Medicare payments have been frozen; “VR” GPs are effectively now paid double the Medicare rates that “Non-VR” GPs are, despite both “categories” of GPs having the exact same responsibility and care requirements for their patients, identical practice costs and medical liability insurance.


Most “VR” and “Non-VR” GPs are indistinguishable

except in the amount of Medicare remuneration

they receive from the federal government.

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