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[2020 entry and beyond] Guide to Bonded Medical Places

Crow

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IMPORTANT: This thread only applies to those applying for / accepting a BMP for 2020 entry or beyond and those accepting a provisional entry medicine BMP offer in 2019. If you will be accepting your BMP to start medical school in 2019, or have already accepted it in an earlier year, please refer to this thread instead for guidance: [Undergrad] - [2019 entry and earlier] Bonded Medical Places - A Guide

Given the 2018 announcement that the BMP scheme was being updated as of January 1st 2020, I thought it’d be fit to make an updated version of the excellent thread written by LBoG.

Credit goes to LBoG for this thread. I’ve stolen some information from their thread for this one.

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer. The information on this thread is based off my own understanding of the Bonded Medical Places scheme. The Commonwealth of Australia “strongly recommend” having a lawyer advise you on any BMP commitments you may be considering, and I 100% encourage this. Important questions regarding the BMP scheme should be directed to BMPScheme@health.gov.au.

If you notice any errors or missing information in this post, please inform me so I can update the thread.

Anyhow, without further ado:

What is a Bonded Medical Place?

A BMP is a (funded) place in an Australian medical school – it just comes with a few strings attached. Given the workforce distribution issues within Australia, the government came up with the BMP scheme in an attempt to address these issues – in particular, to increase the number of workers in areas of workforce shortage in Australia (these most commonly being rural and remote communities).

BMPs are additional course places to CSP (and FFP) positions and they make up 28.5% of each government-funded medical school cohort. Upon accepting a BMP, you are agreeing to complete a Return of Service (RoS) period of three years after you’ve graduated and entered the workforce.

A BMP is still a Commonwealth Supported Position (meaning that you’ll be eligible for HECS-HELP like any other CSP student).

Accepting a BMP and committing to the Commonwealth of Australia to meet your RoS obligations is legally binding; this is not to be taken lightly, and you should think very carefully about the obligations associated with the BMP and whether you are able/willing to commit to these before applying for and/or accepting an offer for one.


What is the difference between a CSP, BMP and FFP place?

CSP – A CSP is a no-strings-attached position, meaning that there is no obligation to work in an area of workforce shortage upon graduation from a medical degree. The government contributes to the costs associated with your position in medical school.

BMP – A BMP is simply a CSP with an obligation to complete an RoS period following graduation, as highlighted above.

FFP – An FFP is a Full Fee-Paying position, meaning that an FFP student will pay all of the costs (and likely more) associated with their position in medical school (none of this is provided by the government). The funding from international students and domestic FFP students can be thought to “fund” the CSP and BMP positions offered by the medical schools. FFPs are only offered by a select number of universities for medicine; currently these are Bond, Melbourne, UNDS, UNDF and Macquarie.

The COAG agreement stipulates that those in a CSP or a BMP position are guaranteed an internship in Australia upon graduation. This guarantee is not extended to FFPs. CSPs and BMPs can therefore be viewed as cheaper and less risky place types in comparison to FFPs, and are thus largely preferred to FFPs by medical school applicants.


Can my BMP be upgraded to a CSP?

This, while possible, is extremely unlikely. It relies upon a student who was offered a CSP declining said offer, and you being at the top of the list of ranked BMP students for an upgrade. It is very rare that this will occur and is certainly not something to bank your chances on.

Once you’ve committed to a BMP with the Commonwealth of Australia, you cannot go back on this, even if you are offered a CSP at a later date.


When do I need to complete my RoS? Does it all need to be completed at once?

Your RoS needs to be completed within 5 years of attaining fellowship. You must complete a minimum of 50% (i.e. a minimum of 18 months) of your RoS period after attaining fellowship i.e. when you are a qualified specialist. You are allowed to complete the remaining 50% during your pre-vocational and vocational training years (the years prior to you attaining fellowship / being a qualified specialist).

Your RoS period must be completed in minimum time blocks of three months.

If you do not attain fellowship within 10 years of your internship, the remaining balance of the RoS can be completed in a non-specialist position.


Where can I complete my RoS?

You can complete your RoS in any area identified as a Monash Modified Model (MMM) Category 2-7 area, or in a District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) area as identified by the government. These areas are subject to change at each census and thus cannot be readily predicted ahead of time. You can use the DoctorConnect site to check which locations are currently classified as MMM 2-7.


When is the best time to complete my RoS?

While dependent on the specialty you choose to pursue, working outside of major metropolitan centres is likely to have a more profound impact on your career after you’ve attained fellowship, as opposed to when you are a pre-vocational doctor. It is therefore recommended that you complete as much of your RoS as possible prior to attaining fellowship.

ETA: Please read chinaski's post below for an elaboration/clarification of this point. She knows a LOT more than I do on the matter.


What happens if I breach my BMP agreement?
[UPDATED 11/5/19]


You will be required to pay back the equivalent of the government's contribution to your medical education.

What are the key differences between the new scheme and the pre-2020 scheme?

- Bonded requirement of three years of RoS as opposed to 12 months
- Requirement to complete at least 50% of the RoS after attaining fellowship
- Movement to a standardised, legislated regulatory model, as opposed to individual contracts
- Compliance with RoS requirements will be managed through a web-based portal
- RoS periods completed post-fellowship can occur in MMM 2-7 areas rather than the previous (and more restrictive) 4-7 areas

Official links:
Bonded medical graduate programs – 2018 Budget Changes
Department of Health | Bonded Medical Places (BMP) Scheme
Department of Health | Reformed Bonded Programs


I will update this further if and when more information comes to light.
 
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chinaski

Regular Member
When is the best time to complete my RoS?

While dependent on the specialty you choose to pursue, working outside of major metropolitan centres is likely to have a more profound impact on your career after you’ve attained fellowship, as opposed to when you are a pre-vocational doctor. It is therefore recommended that you complete as much of your RoS as possible prior to attaining fellowship.
I would not be so dogmatically prescriptive about this issue. For many newly-minted consultants, the vast majority of jobs available/unmined private practice opportunities are in regional areas of Australia - there are a comparative lack of opportunities in urban areas. Whilst I agree it is preferable to fulfil as much of one's RoS as possible before fellowship, it's for different and more complex/interrelated reasons than you have stated above. Working outside of a major metro centre post fellowship isn't necessarily a deal breaker, and indeed it is the reality for an increasing number of new consultants, whether they like it or not.
 

LMG!

Moderator
Staff Member of the Year 2019
Re. the comment about deferring 2019 BMPs: I’m not sure if it’s the same nation-wide, but UTAS do not allow you to defer a BMP, you can either decline and reapply, or you can accept and start, but no deferrals for BMPs.
 

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LMG!

Moderator
Staff Member of the Year 2019
I know this has been a topic in some of the other threads, but I can't for the life of me find which ones now, so posting here:

Out of interest, and for the sake of providing half-decent information to our users, I called the administrators of the BMP scheme to confirm the Return of Service conditions for people receiving BMPs this year (2019 entry), but choosing to defer, and therefore not signing a BMP until 2020, when the new conditions kick in.

The person I spoke to said, "Oh, that's actually a really good question, I don't know." She then went to speak to a supervisor who also didn't know. Unfortunately, this means we are as in the dark now as we were before! But I guess it does underline the need for students to get solid information from their respective Universities and to get this in writing. If no one has thought to address this issue now, they will clearly have to come up with a policy at some stage very soon. If it's different to what your University tells you, then you want something in writing from the University to back up any further discussions you might need to enter into.

And, as always, given the Deed of Agreement is a legal document, it's always recommended that you get a lawyer or similar to go through the details of it with you so you know what you are signing up to. While I don't want to put people off accepting BMPs at all, I do think you should be fully informed.
 

MrWhippe

Regular Member
I'm not sure if its stated in the post above, but what exactly is changing for BMP places in 2020 and beyond?
 

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L

Logic

Guest
I'm not sure if its stated in the post above, but what exactly is changing for BMP places in 2020 and beyond?
As stated in the post:
What are the key differences between the new scheme and the pre-2020 scheme?

- Bonded requirement of three years of RoS as opposed to 12 months
- Requirement to complete at least 50% of the RoS after attaining fellowship
- Movement to a standardised, legislated regulatory model, as opposed to individual contracts
- Compliance with RoS requirements will be managed through a web-based portal
- RoS periods completed post-fellowship can occur in MMM 2-7 areas rather than the previous (and more restrictive) 4-7 areas
 
L

Logic

Guest
Hi, just wondering if the entry requirements for CSP, BMP and FFP are the same?
No, some universities require you to preference whether you would like a CSP or a BMP and virtually everyone would rather a CSP over a BMP if given the choice and so the marks required to get a CSP offer are usually greater than those of a BMP (as those with the higher entry criteria are given their preference of CSP).

Other universities don’t require you to preference and usually allocate CSP from the person with the highest overall mark (depending on the uni this could be e.g. ATAR + UCAT + interview) and once all CSP positions have been allocated, proceed to offer BMPs until those run out too.

Hope that makes sense!
 

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No, some universities require you to preference whether you would like a CSP or a BMP and virtually everyone would rather a CSP over a BMP if given the choice and so the marks required to get a CSP offer are usually greater than those of a BMP (as those with the higher entry criteria are given their preference of CSP).

Other universities don’t require you to preference and usually allocate CSP from the person with the highest overall mark (depending on the uni this could be e.g. ATAR + UCAT + interview) and once all CSP positions have been allocated, proceed to offer BMPs until those run out too.

Hope that makes sense!
Thanks for getting back to me
So for example, if I have applied for a University that requires to choose a preference between CSP or BMP, and I have chosen CSP. Would I be automatically considered to a BMP if I did not receive an offer for CSP, or would I just not getting any offer at all.
 
L

Logic

Guest
Thanks for getting back to me
So for example, if I have applied for a University that requires to choose a preference between CSP or BMP, and I have chosen CSP. Would I be automatically considered to a BMP if I did not receive an offer for CSP, or would I just not getting any offer at all.
Yes you could still be considered for the BMP provided you’ve followed the instructions for the uni.

For example UQ requires you to also preference BMP and CSP as separate preferences in your QTAC account so as long as you did that you would be eligible for either. Others just get you to preference which one you would prefer and still would give you your second preference of a BMP if you did not make the cut off for CSP but did for BMP.

All universities allow you to compete for both CSP and BMP so long as you follow the right instructions so if you are unsure that you’ve applied for both, then confirming with the university is a good idea.
 
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Yes you would still be considered for the BMP depending on the university. For example UQ requires you to also preference BMP in your QTAC account so as long as you did that. Others just get you to preference which one you would prefer and still would give you your second preference of a BMP if you did not make the cut off for CSP but did for BMP. All universities allow you to compete for CSP and BMP so long as you follow the right instructions so if you are unsure that you’re applying for both, then confirming with the university is a good idea.
Thank you! That is very helpful
 
Hi,
I am currently a provisional medicine student studying at Griffith and starting my MD in 2020. I was wondering with the new bonding placements scheme (3 years) how much it would be to pay off the bonded placement if someone was unwilling to continue with the bonded scheme if the option of paying out is still available?
 

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Crow

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It's come to my attention that the 6 year Medicare billing ban punishment will NOT apply to those who breach their BMP contract - rather, the consequence of breaching the contract will still be to pay back the Commonwealth's contribution to your medical education (with interest). I've updated the original post to reflect this.

My sincere apologies to any confusion caused to anyone - I misinterpreted information that applies to the old MRBS scheme and incorrectly assumed it applied to the new BMP scheme.
 

TKAO

ima head to oooo-wahhh for med
Valued Member
Just for clarification - does the area that you work in have to be BOTH MMM 2-7 and DWS or can it be either? Does it have to be a specific speciality in the DWS? Also, was this a predictable move by the health department in the sense that - would someone be able to tell whether another increase would happen in the future? I know of some people who did the provisional UWA BMP that will start their MD in 2020, and will hence be required to do this new scheme instead of the old one.
 

Crow

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does the area that you work in have to be BOTH MMM 2-7 and DWS or can it be either?
One or the other, I believe. I think they make the distinction because there may (rarely) be MMM 1 areas that are classified as DWS.
Also, was this a predictable move by the health department in the sense that - would someone be able to tell whether another increase would happen in the future?
The scheme used to require one to do an ROS equivalent to the number of years of their medical education, and it failed because the majority of people were breaking their contracts and buying their way out instead. Then, they moved it back to a 1 year ROS, and now up to 3 (but with more support for bonded doctors). Given the history, I can’t imagine the length of the ROS would increase again beyond 3 years, but I guess there’s never certainty regarding these things.
 

ChillX

Member
Hello, if one finishes a bonded medical place away from their home state, are they able to complete their rural placements back in their homestate?
 

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