Area of Need declarations

The NT Area of Need Policy is currently under review. This web page will be updated periodically as the review progresses.


In the Northern Territory (NT), Area of Need is a process used to address shortages of doctors by allowing health services to temporarily employ overseas-trained doctors. Priority remains on continued efforts to attract medical practitioners with general and/or specialist registration to vacancies in the NT.

Public and private health services can apply to the NT Chief Health Officer to be declared an Area of Need if medical practitioner positions have remained unfilled, despite recruitment attempts.

Once declared an Area of Need, a health service can temporarily employ an overseas-trained doctor, also known as an international medical graduate, on the registration type 'limited registration for area of need'. Registration is subject to approval by the Medical Board of Australia via the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

The NT Chief Health Officer does not provide assistance with employment or with employment in an Area of Need. To find a position you will need to apply for an advertised vacancy and be offered a job by a medical practice or health service.

Area of Need review

A review is being undertaken to ensure the NT Area of Need Policy is effective in providing the NT population timely access to a professional and qualified medical workforce, including overseas practitioners that can provide safe medical services to the NT community, and to address medical workforce shortages.

Stakeholders have been invited to provide input to the review via a survey, which can be accessed here DOCX (66.9 KB). The closing date for the survey has been extended to enable further input to the review. Completed surveys should be returned to POCCorrespondence.DoH@nt.gov.au by 20 September 2021.

The current Policy will continue to apply until the review has been completed and any approved changes implemented.

Updated contact details, requests for extension and general enquiries regarding the AON Policy or the review should be emailed to ChiefHealthOfficer.DoH@nt.gov.au.

The Area of Need provisions were last reviewed in 2015. Read the 2015 review report.

Apply to be an Area of Need

A health service can apply to be declared an Area of Need by addressing the assessment criteria in the Department of Health's Area of Need policy.

Submit an application to the Chief Health Officer by emailing chiefhealthofficer.doh@nt.gov.au.

International medical graduates

International medical graduates who do not have Australian general or specialist registration may be able to work at a declared Area of Need location if limited registration is approved by the Medical Board of Australia.

For more information about this type of registration see the Medical Board of Australia website.

International medical graduates on limited registration for area of need can only work in a health service location that has been declared an Area of Need by the Minister for Health, or authorised delegate.

Regulation

Area of Need regulation is covered under section 67 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.

Under the law, the Minister has the authority to decide if there is an insufficient number of medical practitioners to meet the needs of Territorians, and declare an Area of Need. The NT Minister has delegated this power to the Chief Health Officer as defined in the Public and Environmental Health Act 2011.

Contact

Office of the Chief Health Officer
Phone: (08) 8922 7161
chiefhealthofficer.doh@nt.gov.au

Employment matters

  • The NT Chief Health Officer does not provide assistance with employment or with employment in an AON. To find a position you will need to apply for an advertised vacancy and be offered a job by a medical practice or health service.
  • Please peruse the Careers in Health and NT Government Jobs sites for assistance with employment.

Last updated: 15 September 2021

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