GP Salary Australia – Find out what your GP income will be

We are often asked ‘How much do GPs earn in Australia?’

You may be thinking about relocating to Australia and want to know more about your GP salary in Australia. We discuss General Practitioner salaries and give you some guidance on what you can expect.

GPs in Australia generally earn a good income and can afford a comfortable lifestyle. In the majority of cases, GPs relocating from the UK earn at least the same for doing less hours per week. One of our doctors has described working in Australia

‘I have found the working conditions, flexibility, capacity for earning and, above all, lifestyle for my family and I to be far superior to my experience in the UK’

Australia GP Income

Rather than being paid a fixed salary, as a GP you will earn a percentage of billings.  The income you receive will very much depend on the number of patients you see but also upon the complexity of the consultations.

Factors which will affect your annual salary

  • The percentage of billings you receive
  • The number of hours you work
  • The number of patients you see
  • How many weeks annual leave you take
  • The type of patient you are treating ie which Medicare Billing item number you use

General practices in Australia operate as private businesses,either owned by a single GP, GP Partners or larger companies.

Bulk Billing

A bulk billing clinic is one where the practice bills Medicare for the full payment of the patient consultation. The patient presents a Medicare card and is not required to pay towards the consultation.

Medicare is a public health insurance scheme funded by the Australian Government, which provides all Australians, and those with eligible Medicare cards, with access to free or subsidised healthcare.

Almost nine out of 10 visits to the GP in the nine months to March 2021 were provided with no out-of-pocket cost to the patient,’ according to Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt.

Mixed Billing

This is where the practice accepts bulk billing consultations as above but will also charge patients for consultations. Usually, patients who are under 16, over 65 and hold health cards are bulk billed and everyone else is private billed. The standard consultation fee for the practice will remain the same. Even in a mixed billing practice, most patients will be bulk billed.

Operating as a private business, GPs are free to determine reasonable fees that are reflective of the services they provide.

GP Percentage of Billings

As a GP you will be offered somewhere in the region of 60 – 70% of the total billings you generate for the practice. The private consultation fee for the practice will remain the same however the bulk billing fee will vary dependent on the type of consultation.  A standard bulk billing consultation is currently $39.10AUD however any additional treatment you provide above this is charged as an add on. Minor surgery, dermatology and skin, and health assessments will substantially increase the billings you achieve.

If you are working full time and seeing 4-6 patients per hour you can expect to earn a GP salary of $250K AUD per year. The potential income is really high with some of our GPs easily earning between $300 – $400K AUD and upwards.

It can take 3-6 months to build up your patient base and become fully booked. It may be much quicker but practices offer you a minimum guarantee for the first 2-3 months whilst you build your patient base. This guarantee is usually $100 – $150 per hour.

GPs we’ve placed in Australia find that their income is far higher than what they earn in the UK and have much more control over what they earn.

GP Tax Rate Australia

Working in Australia, you are classed as a resident for tax purposes.

The following rates for 2022 – 2023

Taxable income                      Tax on this income
0 – $18,200                                   Nil
$18,201 – $45,000                      19%
$45,001 – $120,000                    32.5%
$120,001 – $180,000                  37%
$180,001 and over                        45%

Further Reading

GP Tax System in Australia

Is there an Age Limit for GPs?

Useful websites
Medicare
Medicare Benefits Schedule
Australian Tax Office

Discover what life is like for one of our doctors working on a tropical island in North Queensland

We chat to Dr Jamie who recently moved out to Queensland to pursue a dream working and living in Australia. 

What made you decide to move to Australia?

I was feeling burnt out working as a GP in the NHS and looking for a change in direction. I had planned to Locum as a GP in Glasgow then travel for a few months but with the pandemic this wasn’t possible. I then decided to look for jobs abroad and Australia was top of the list.
I came across Transition Medical and the rest is history!!

Tell us about a typical day in your GP role?

So my day starts with a 20 minute ferry ride over to a tropical island where my GP practice is based. I live on the mainland in a fairly busy city, so getting to start the day with a relaxing ferry over to a tropical island is pretty awesome! Beats the long commute on the M8!
My surgery starts at 0830 and I finish at 1630. I see a wide variety of presentations but mainly elderly and chronic disease given the demographic of Magnetic Island. There are also plenty of acute emergency presentations and this can be challenging to manage given we are on an island. It keeps things very interesting however. There are also the odd tropical disease presentations like dengue fever and meliondosis, all very new to me but again an interesting learning experience.  I am also able to do more minor surgery and see a high rate of skin cancer presentations.

Best bit about your day?

The commute……heading off to the island in the sunshine each morning is just great. It helps set me up for the day and makes the day that bit less stressful. Although the GP presentations and issues are very similar to back home, the environment in which I work and live here makes the job that bit more enjoyable. Also getting to go out at lunch time for a stroll by the beach is a highlight!

Working as a remote and rural GP here I also get to go to remote community in my boss’ private plane to help with clinics in the outback and remote areas. One of my best adventures so far was flying out to a remote area in the Gulf of Carpentaria to scale a tanker in the middle of the ocean and swab the crew for covid. I luckily avoided swimming with the bull sharks!!

Most challenging part of your day?

If someone is seriously unwell, it can be stressful and difficult to co-ordinate transfer off the island for emergency care. However there is an emergency clinic which is great support.

How do you find the culture and lifestyle compared to the UK?

I find the culture very similar which is great as it makes me less homesick. The lifestyle is much more laid back however and being a very outdoorsy person I love the fact that almost every day is sunny in North Queensland (I say this as its currently torrential rain due to wet season!) The life work balance is also much better than the UK.

How have you settled in and would you have any tips for other GPs relocating?

I feel like I’m still definitely going through an adjustment period and have been a little homesick especially over Christmas. But I am extremely happy with my decision to move and know that after a few months of hard work and getting used to the Australian healthcare system I’ll be settled. The opportunities over here far exceed the UK, not to mention the sunshine and beautiful tropical surroundings. Ive also met lots of amazing friendly people since moving which has helped.

Relocating is a big decision, involves a lot of stress and cost so be sure you want to make the move before diving in. I would definitely recommend using Transition Medical rather than try to do it solo as they took so much stress and anxiety out of the process.

How have you found the transition from general practice in the UK to Australia?

The medicine is the same no matter where you are but the processes and healthcare system are different here. It has been a steep learning curve getting used to how the Aussie healthcare system works but I’m well supported by my supervisor and practice team. The main difference is billing, privately charging patients for healthcare is a challenging addition to my consulting as I’m used to the luxury of everything being free with the NHS.

Finally, how have you found Transition Medical in helping you make the move to Australia?

I honestly cannot thank Emma and Kirsty at Transition enough for all their hard work and support. From the initial conversation to discuss my options and potential jobs, to facilitating zoom meetings with my potential employer and supporting me in making the right decision for me. They were so thorough at every step and handled ALL the paperwork for me taking that burden off my shoulders. I honestly don’t think I could have done it without them, there were so many hoops to jump through but Transition made it seamless. With the pandemic we had a very tough time getting over here, it was emotionally draining, Emma and Kirsty were there at every step to support us through it all and finally get us over here, I would highly recommend Transition medical to anyone looking to relocate to Australia, they are just wonderful.

My partner and I are so happy to finally be living our Australian dream on tropical Maggie and we are so grateful to Transition for making it happen.

 

Considering Moving to Australia as a GP? Your FAQs Answered Here

If you’re a GP thinking about relocating to Australia, you may have many questions. This may be early stages of thinking or you might be ready to move and want to find out more.

Here we answer your most frequent questions regarding working as a GP in Australia

Where can I work? –  All overseas trained GPs are required to work in an areas which is Distribution Priority Area (DPA). This is in place for the first 10 years of your medical registration and you may hear it as your ’10 year moratorium.’

The practice must also be able to be approved for a Health workforce certificate to be able to sponsor you on a visa. We find that generally these fall in line with DPA approved areas.  All the GP jobs on our website are suitable for you to apply. The areas where we find jobs are around Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra, Brisbane, Tasmania, the Central Coast and regional cities such as Busselton, Broome and Rockhampton.  Check out the workforce locator map here to check the geographical classification of any location in Australia.

How long are the contracts? – Generally 2 years, some more rural practices may consider 12 months. 

How long does the paperwork take? – Approximately 8 months from job acceptance to visa approval 

Do I have to work under supervision? Yes initially but just for 6 months if you’re substantially comparable. A period of self -reflection, peer review and clinical case analysis. There are no exams if you are substantially comparable. All of our UK GPs are substantially comparable whereas doctors trained in Spain, the Netherlands and USA are partially comparable. 

Will my earnings be affected during supervision? – No, in fact while completing the supervision period, you will have access to the full Medicare rebate (A1 rates) This means you bill the same as a vocationally recognised GP whilst working towards FRACGP. 

What is the Practice Experience Program (PEP) Specialist Stream? It provides a pathway for international medical graduates with overseas specialist qualifications to gain Fellowship with the RACGP. Please visit the PEP Specialist Stream webpage for more details.

Will I still get specialist registration? Yes once all Fellowship requirements have been met. 

What is WBA? – completed 3-6 months from commencing employment, provides a framework for evaluating performance and progress in practice. 

What’s does the PEP pathway to Fellowship look like? 

Do I need to sit exams on the PEP Pathway?

After satisfactorily completing all of the program requirements, substantially comparable participants will be eligible to apply for FRACGP. Partially comparable participants are eligible to enrol in the Fellowship exams after completing the WBA requirements.

If you are considering a move or just want to chat through options we have a dedicated team who will guide you through every step of the whole process. Visit our latest GP jobs or contact us directly for more information. 

Further Reading

RACGP 

Medical Board of Australia

DoctorConnect

 

UK Healthcare System compared to the Australia / New Zealand Healthcare system

For GPs relocating from the UK to Australia or New Zealand, you will have questions on the differences between the two health care systems. We have outlined how the health care system works in Australia and New Zealand.

Australia GP Healthcare System

Medicare is Australia’s universal health care and insurance programme. It guarantees Australian citizens access to a wide range of GP and hospital services at no or low cost.

Australia’s Medicare system is funded by the local taxpayers. Medicare is open to Australia citizens and permanent residents and those from a Reciprocal country. Once you enrol in Medicare you are issued with a Medicare card which allows you to access medical services, hospital treatment and prescription medicines.

The Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) lists the medical services covered by Medicare either in full or partially covered. The Pharmaceutical Benefits System (PBS) reduces the cost of medication to patients. As Medicare doesn’t cover all Medicare services, many patients choose to take out private healthcare insurance.

Private vs Bulk GP Billing

Patients in a GP practice are either bulk or privately billed. Bulk billing is where the total fee is charged to Medicare with no cost to the patient. A bulk billing GP consultation will be billed with an item number which will correspond to the scheduled fee. This is what you as a GP can claim for the consultation. Private billing is where the patient is charged but the partial fee can be claimed from Medicare with a ‘gap fee’ paid by the patient. Private billing consultations are set by the practice or the individual doctor.

This will affect how you are paid working as. GP in Australia.  You will receive a percentage of billings (between 60 – 70%) Your income will be very good however dependant on the number of patients you see and the complexity of those patients.

New Zealand Health System

The Public Health system in New Zealand is funded by taxpayers. Essential health care is free for all NZ residents and those with a visa for 2 years and longer. As a UK GP there is a reciprocal agreement between the two countries to access some healthcare services.

There are 3 key sectors in New Zealand; District Health Boards, Primary Health care and Health organisations. DHBs are government funded and are responsible generally for secondary health, PHOs assist with primary health services including general practice and community health services. There is also Accident and Compensation Corporation (ACC) which is a government run personal injury scheme which helps to pay for medical and treatment fees which are caused by an accident.

General Practice in New Zealand

General practice in New Zealand are privately run and set their own fees for consultations. The fees must remain within a threshold agreed by the DHBs and PHOs and the level of co-payment is determined by the practice. The cost of the visit will be lower if you’re enrolled as the NZ government subsidises the fee for enrolled patients. Some practices join a Very Low Cost Access (VLCA) programme run by the local PHO. This means they can keep their fees low due to extra funding.

Working as a GP in New Zealand

As a GP working in New Zealand you will initially be on an employment contract paid a salaried rate. This will come with additional benefits such as paid leave, sick leave and sometimes relocation assistance and paid medical practising fees and insurance. We find that our GPs settle in well into life in New Zealand, and enjoy that enviable work / life balance in an enjoyable patient setting.

For more information on living and working as a GP in Australia or New Zealand please do get in touch. 

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The Australian Tax System for GPs Working in Australia

If you’re considering applying for GP jobs in Australia, you’ll certainly need to think about the financial aspects of moving to Australia. You might want to think about the cost of living in Australia as well as the Australian tax system and how it affects your take-home pay. If you own property in the UK and plan to keep it, you might also want to know how Australia taxes any income earned for overseas properties.

Average GP Salary Australia

Average GP salaries in Australia are relatively good with most GPs earning between AUS $200,000 to $400,000. Most of our GPs have a higher wage in Australia than they did in the UK.

GPs in Australia often earn a percentage of the billings rather than a fixed salary. This takes into account the number of patients they see, the complexity of the consultations and the number of hours worked. Our GPs have found that this payment system gives them more control over their take-home pay.

Paying Tax as a British GP Working in Australia

As a general practitioner, you can move to Australia on either a temporary or permanent work visa since medical occupations currently qualify under the long-term strategic skill list. Your visa and how long you intend to stay will impact whether you are an Australian resident for tax purposes. The vast majority of our GPs relocate on a Temporary Skilled Shortage Visa (TSS 482) and would be classed as an Australian resident for tax.

Australian residents must declare any income earned from anywhere in the world. However, can also take advantage of Australia’s tax-free threshold and tax offsets. Australian residents also typically receive a lower tax rate than foreign residents.

Australia’s Tax System: How to Pay Tax

Before you begin working as a GP in Australia, you’ll need to get a tax file number, also known as TFN. The Australian income year ends on June 30th and most people will need to file an annual tax return prior to this date. You’ll primarily be taxed on income and the amount you pay will depend on whether you’re an Australian or foreign resident.

Paying Tax in Australia as an Australian resident

Australia residents are entitled to claim a tax-free threshold of AUS$18,200 per year. This means you’ll only be taxed on income over the minimum threshold. You’ll also need to pay the Medicare levy, roughly 2% of your income, which helps support the country’s healthcare. In general, Australian residents using a TFN typically pay lower tax rates than foreign residents.

If you’re an Australian resident but only have a temporary resident visa, most of your foreign income won’t be taxed while you’re living in Australia. However, Australia does collect tax on work you complete overseas, for example, hosting an overseas conference, while living in Australia. More information about foreign income exemptions for temporary residents is available here.

Paying Tax in Australia as a Foreign Resident

It’s relatively rare for British GPs working in Australia to be classed as a foreign resident. As long as you’re taking steps to make Australia your home and plan to live there for more than six months, you’ll be classed as an Australian resident for tax purposes. Read more about paying tax as a foreign resident here.

Australian Tax System: Paying Tax on Overseas Property

Sometimes when our GPs move to Australia, they still own property in the UK. If you rent or sell this property and are classed as an Australian resident, you’ll probably need to pay tax. Any income or capital gains from the overseas property must be declared in your Australian tax return. You may be able to claim a foreign income tax offset if you’ve already paid tax on income or capital gains in another country.

Australia’s Tax System: Overseas Pensions & Annuities

As an Australian resident, you’ll also need to pay tax on any UK pensions in payment or annuities. In some cases, you can choose to deduct and have some of your annual pension or annuity income personal contributions returned to you (also known as undeducted purchase price). If your pension or annuity has been taxed in the UK and Australia, you might be able to claim a foreign income tax offset on your Australian tax returns.

More information is available here.

Paying Tax in Australia on Offshore Bank Accounts

If you decide to keep your UK bank account, you’ll need to report any interest or other income earned in your Australian tax income. Failing to declare this information could lead to financial penalties.

Working as a GP in Australia

Once you’ve secured a work visa and arrived in Australia, you need to apply for a TFN and complete a tax file number declaration. 

You must provide the declaration to your employer within 28 days of starting your GP job or you’ll need to pay the higher tax rate. After completing this initial paperwork, your employer will deduct taxes and submit them to the government.

Returning to the UK

While most of our GPs choose to make Australia their home for life, some decide to return to the UK. When you leave Australia, you’ll still need to submit a tax return. If you’re departing before the end of the tax year and don’t plan to return, you can lodge an Australian tax return early.

Ready to Move to Australia?

View our excellent GP job vacancies located throughout Australia or speak to one of our specialist recruitment professionals. Transition Medical is here to support you throughout every stage of your move from finding outstanding opportunities, securing Australian work visas and getting settled in your new home. Read our testimonies to learn about other GPs that we’ve helped make the move.

Other Relevant Blogs

Is there an age limit for GPs?

A question we’re asked so often is ‘am I too old to work in Australia or New Zealand, or ‘what is the age limit for working as a GP in Australia or New Zealand?

The answer is, there is no age limit. We have placed GPs ranging from newly qualified doctors through to GPs who have reached retirement and fancy a spell working overseas.

Age is not a factor for the majority of our medical practices we work with. Most are looking for good all-round GPs with comparable qualifications.

Let’s address what practices are looking for:

Australia

If a practice in Australia is unable to find a suitable GP from within Australia they will first look overseas for a GP with substantially comparable experience such as the UK or Ireland.

The Australian registration process changed on the 1st September 2019. The registration pathway allows for those with comparable qualifications to submit a comparability assessment. To find out more please do get in touch.

New Zealand

New Zealand practices will look to comparable countries.  There are over 20 countries which are considered comparable. For a full list please the Medical Council website.

Age Limit for Visas

To apply for a temporary visa to work in either Australia or New Zealand, as long as you meet the other health and good standing criteria, then age is no factor.

If you are planning a permanent move then the age limit when applying for an independent permanent visa in Australia is 45, there are options after this age for you to be sponsored by the practice. In New Zealand, you need to apply before you reach 56. Our specialist immigration advisor can advise on your individual circumstances. For more information please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

June 2021 – Update on DPA Area for Overseas Trained Doctors in Australia

The annual update of the DPA (Distribution Priority Area) will be available on 1st July 2021. The DPA is updated annually based on the latest available billing data and population statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The aim is to ensure the distribution of medical practitioners in communities of greatest need.

What does this mean for GPs?

If an area gains DPA status (the area has now been assessed as not receiving adequate services for the needs of the community), practices in the area will now be able to employ Overseas Trained Doctors.

If an area loses DPA status (the area has now been assessed as receiving adequate services for the needs of the community), GPs who hold an existing exemption under section 19AB of the Health Insurance Act 1973 can continue to practise at their location provided they continue to meet the conditions of their exemption.

To find out whether a location is deemed a DPA you can click here.

Under current DPA classifications, areas within 30 minutes to 1 hour in the larger cities such as Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra are available however this may change from the 1st July.

We would like to see that the changes made in July 2021 lead to some areas such as Perth become DPA as there are currently no DPA areas there, however If you are considering a move to Australia, we would recommend getting in touch to discuss options before the 1st July 2021.  We currently have opportunities in city, regional and rural communities of Australia.

Update on Distribution Priority Area (DPA) for Overseas Trained Doctors in Australia

The annual update of the DPA will be available on 1st July 2020. The DPA is updated annually based on the latest available billing data and population statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The aim is to ensure the distribution of medical practitioners in communities of greatest need.

What does this mean for GP’s?

If an area gains DPA status (the area has now been assessed as not receiving adequate services for the needs of the community), practices in the area will now be able to employ Overseas Trained Doctors.

If an area loses DPA status (the area has now been assessed as receiving adequate services for the needs of the community), GPs who hold an existing exemption under section 19AB of the Health Insurance Act 1973 can continue to practise at their location provided they continue to meet the conditions of their exemption.

To find out whether a location is deemed a DPA you can click here or search the Distribution Priority Areas map on www.doctorconnect.gov.au

If you are considering a move to Australia, we would recommend getting in touch to discuss options before the new DPA is published on the 1st July 2020.  We currently have opportunities in city, regional and rural communities of Australia.

 

 

 

 

COVID-19 Travel restrictions and exemptions – Australia and NZ

We hope you are all keeping safe and healthy.  The advice relating to travelling to both Australia and New Zealand has been changing, we have updated our blog to give you the most up to date information.  Our team continues to work remotely from home and continues to be here for you if you have any queries or questions, please do get in touch.

AUSTRALIA

The prime minister announced that only Australian citizens/permanent residents and New Zealand citizens usually residing in Australia can travel to Australia.  However, the Commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF) may consider entry under an exemption.

Exemptions as determined by the Commissioner:

  • Foreign nationals travelling at the invitation of the Australian Commonwealth Government for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response or whose entry would be in the national interest
  • Critical medical services, including air ambulance and delivery of supplies, that regularly arrive into Australia from international ports
  • Persons with critical skills (for example, medical specialists, engineers, marine pilots and crews) by exception
  • Diplomats accredited to Australia and currently resident in Australia and their immediate family
  • ​Case-by-case exceptions may also be granted for humanitarian or compassionate reasons.

Exemptions must be granted prior to these travellers undertaking travel to Australia. The request for an exemption through Commissioner’s Discretion must be accompanied by:

  • Passenger details: name, DOB, visa type and number, passport number, Australian residential address, Australian telephone number)
  • Case information: why this case should be considered for Commissioner discretion/exemption
  • Supporting statement: the request should be accompanied by a statement and evidence of how the individual meets one of the grounds for an exemption or excise of the Commissioner’s discretion listed above.

You can apply for an exemption using this online form. Exemptions are assessed on a case-by-case basis and must be granted prior to undertaking travel to Australia.

Along with applying for an exemption, you will need to provide evidence that your employer requires you to start immediately for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response.   We can assist with this.

Please note: You need to have your visa approved prior to applying for an exemption.

Self-Isolation requirement:

All travellers arriving in Australia will be required to undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities, in their port of arrival.​ Travellers will be transported directly to designated facilities after appropriate immigration, customs and enhanced health checks. This requirement applies to anyone, including Australian citizens/permanent residents and temporary residents exempt from the travel ban.

It has yet to be determined how long the travel restrictions will last, we will keep up to date with developments and advise on any changes as soon as we have them.

As the above is all subject to change, we recommend referring to the Australian Department of Home Affairs website for the most up to date information.

NEW ZEALAND

The New Zealand border is currently closed to most travellers. New Zealand citizens and permanent resident visa holders can travel to New Zealand.   Immigration New Zealand will consider exemptions to travel.

Consideration will only be made for people with exceptional circumstances who have a critical purpose for travelling to New Zealand.

You must have a critical purpose for travelling to New Zealand, and:

  • meet health and character requirements for temporary entry
  • be a bona fide applicant
  • meet the funds or sponsorship requirements for visitors
  • meet onward travel requirements.

You can use this link provides further information on the above criteria.  You can use the filters to display country specific tips, to assist you with your application

Critical purposes for travelling to New Zealand

Essential health workers

A health care worker is a current or new employee where the employee holds a key clinical or non-clinical position working as a Medical Doctor in

  • a District Health Board
  • New Zealand Blood Service
  • hospice or palliative care
  • a primary care practice such as urgent care or a medical or healthcare centre
  • aged residential care, respite or continuing care facility.

Consideration will be given as to whether the person holds the necessary qualifications and registration (if required) to work in New Zealand.

Partners and dependent children of essential health workers who will accompany them may also be included in the request.

You can apply for an exemption here. You can make a request if you already have a New Zealand visa, if you have submitted an application for a visa, or if you do not have a visa.

Once your application has been submitted, an immigration officer will assess your request and if they are satisfied that you are eligible to travel to New Zealand they will contact you with information about what to do.  As they are dealing with high numbers of requests for assistance they are currently aiming to respond within two working days, however, this timeframe may be longer depending on enquiry volumes and the complexity of requests received.

Before submitting a request, please consider the availability of flights to New Zealand and travel restrictions for any country you may need to transit on the way to New Zealand.

Self-Isolation requirement:

If you arrived in New Zealand from any country in the last 14 days, you should self-isolate for 14 days from the date you departed the last country you visited.

For further up-to-date information – please see here

We appreciate this is a difficult time with everything being so uncertain.  Our team is here to help, so please do contact us if you have any specific questions or queries.  We are in this together!

 

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