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Working as a general practitioner for an Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS), Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Service (ACCHS) or in the Indigenous Health specialism can be an extremely rewarding pathway. 

Many patients have complex health needs and the care provided by skilled and dedicated GPs has a very positive impact on individual patients and on their communities. Illness and mortality rates are significantly higher in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, and general practitioners play a major role in closing this gap.

Because Ochre Recruitment grew out of the need for doctors in rural areas, we have always had a genuine affection and respect for those doctors who do offer their care and expertise to Australian Indigenous people and help to close the health gap in Australia. 

We have built up an extensive network of contacts within Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS) and Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services (ACCHS) and can offer you a range of locum and permanent GP jobs across Australia.

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How does an Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) work?

An Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHS), or Aboriginal Medical Service is a primary healthcare service initiated and operated by an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community through a locally elected Board of Management. Their vision is to deliver holistic, comprehensive, and culturally appropriate healthcare to the community which controls it.

There is a continuum from large multi-GP urban centres to very small remote fly-in-fly-out community clinics. 

 All utilise a team model, with Indigenous Health workers, general practitioners and nurses playing major roles in the delivery of healthcare services. ACCHS/AMS centres are well-supported by visiting specialists and allied health workers, and almost all are fully accredited to GP training standards. 

Many ACCHS/AMS centres provide training placements for medical students and GP registrars.

Am I suited to work as a GP in an Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS)?

Indigenous health is a specialism which is particularly suited to doctors who enjoy:

  • Practicing within an holistic care model
  • Working within a multidisciplinary team environment
  • Managing complex and challenging clinical cases
  • Using a wide range of clinical skills and expertise
  • Developing new skills.

Qualifications and experience required for the Indigenous Health specialism

Attitude and approach are central for any general practitioner looking to work with Indigenous communities. Eligible GPs need to be passionate about understanding and appreciating the uniqueness of each community they serve.

  • Requirements

    • The FRACGP/ACCRM RACGP Fellowship Program, which includes a compulsory curriculum in Indigenous Health. 
      • Registrars wishing to pursue Indigenous health can also undertake an Indigenous health training post.
    • Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity training.
  • Highly Regarded

    • A manual driver’s license.
    • Experience with and appreciation for the health issues prevalent within Indigenous communities is recommended, in addition to competence and understanding of chronic healthcare plans.
    • Previous experience with practice software such as Communicare, although you will receive a thorough orientation during your first few days.
    • Being a collaborative doctor who is willing to work in a team would be highly regarded, as you will be working alongside the Aboriginal healthcare workers to achieve the best outcomes for patients.
    • Being a good listener with a non-judgemental approach.

Rates for Locum Doctors in Indigenous Health

AMS Locum Rates

Locum doctors working in an Aboriginal Medical Service are paid between $1,200 and $1,500 per day, in addition to accommodation, travel and car expenses.

The locum rate is dependent upon how desirable the location is, the remoteness of the community and the intensity of the role, as well as the doctor’s previous AMS experience.

AMS Locations for Locum work

There are Aboriginal Medical Service practices across all Australian states and territories, ranging from Redfern to Broken Hill in NSW, to the Kimberly in WA, to the Gulf of Carpentaria, Cape York Peninsula and Mornington Island in far north QLD. 

Remote and rural locations in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland offer the most opportunities for AMS locum work. The Northern Territory provides some very popular AMS locum opportunities that tend to fill up quickly.

Salary expectations for permanent or
longer-term Doctors in Indigenous Health

If you commit to a 12-month+ contract, you will typically be engaged as an employee and paid a fixed income for your work. 

Unlike traditional ‘private practice’, an AMS allows you to focus entirely on health outcomes rather than a conventional billings-patient cycle. Many roles include attractive benefits, flexible working hours, and on-call work is not typically required. 

Salary packages often include:

  • Fixed salary in the range of $230K to $300K per annum for a full-time position
  • Superannuation
  • Paid annual leave including sick leave
  • Housing, or accommodation allowance
  • Car
  • Phone allowance
  • Domestic flight allowance through the year.

Working in private practice with an Indigenous Health focus

Some private general practices have a particular focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health—often where the practice population includes a high proportion of Australian Indigenous patients and where one of the GPs has had previous experience in ACCHS/Aboriginal Medical Services. 

Some practices have close links with Australian Indigenous community organisations in their area, and their GPs provide clinics with assistance to Indigenous health workers.

I first started working in Indigenous Health in 1999. The most rewarding thing about working in an Indigenous Health Service is the sense of purpose that I get out of helping Indigenous people and supporting staff who regularly work at these clinics.

Dr Robyn White

Locum GP / AMS

I would recommend Ochre recruitment because they do seem to get higher rates than other agencies, efficiently sort out issues and are easily reachable via phone or email. They have made my time as a GP locum seem like a true working holiday!

Dr. Sebastian Mohan

GP Locum

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Want to know more?

If you would like to know more about the Indigenous Health specialism or AMS
opportunities, please contact our Indigenous Health Team. We look forward to hearing from you.

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