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AMSA Budget Update re: Bonding changes

10 May 2018


 Summary of changes:


In the 2018-2019 Federal Budget, it was announced that the Bonded Medical Places and Medical Rural Bonded S schemes are going to be changed to improve student support and flexibility of Return of Service Obligations. We believe these changes are going to improve the experiences of bonded students and doctors. The Department of Health has also released these additional details for AMSA to communicate to students.


From the 1st January 2020, current and future participants of both the BMP and MRBS will be able to opt into the following arrangements, without any financial penalty:


  • A standard three-year return of service (ROS) (unless currently have a 12 month ROS contract, in which case your ROS can remain at 12 months)
  • Up to 50 percent of your ROS can be done during prevocational and vocational training, with the remaining 50 percent required post Fellowship
  • ROS can be served in three-month blocks, including in the post Fellowship years
  • ROS eligible locations to include Modified Monash Classification areas 2 – 7 and outer metropolitan Districts of Workforce Shortage
  • Bonded graduates will have more options to work in ‘ineligible’ areas during their ROS period
  • Scaling of ROS according to rurality will continue
  • Where Fellowship is not achieved within 10 years from internship, the remaining balance of ROS can be completed in a non-specialist role
  • Compliance with ROS requirements will be managed through a web-based portal, avoiding some of the administrative problems currently encountered
  • The 12 year ‘Medicare ban’ for MRBS recipients will be cut back to 6 years
  • There will be a more transparent process for assessing requests for special consideration due to medical conditions

Additionally, very shortly, telephone contact lines for bonded medical graduates will be reinstalled to provide better assistance and more timely advice to participants. 

See the Budget Factsheet here:

For bonded students who would like more personalised assistance and information regarding the bonding reforms, both BMP and MRBS telephone lines are now open! These phone lines will be open Monday to Friday 8.30 am – 5.00 pm AEST.


The numbers are as follows:
· BMP enquiries phone line: 1800 987 104 
· MRBS enquires phone line: 1800 248 720


How does this compare to previous contracts?


Old contracts

New contracts

Who can change?

Anyone with a contract.

You are under no obligation to switch.

Those with 1 year Return of Service (ROS) contracts can change into the new contract and maintain their current 1 year ROS contracts, there is also no requirement to change contracts.


4-6 years

**1 year if previously on a 2016-2019 BMP contract.

3 years

**1 year if previously on a 2016-2019 BMP contract.

Where can you work?

Varied across contracts

MMM2-7 or District of Workforce Shortage

When can you return service

Up to 50% pre-vocationally for BMP

None pre-vocationally for MRBS

Up to 50% pre-vocationally for both

Time to fellowship

16 years from first year of medical school

10 years to attain fellowship from intern year


If haven’t attained fellowship by then, can still complete the remaining ROS as a non-specialist

Flexibility of ROS



  • Online self-management

  • Ability to work outside of rural areas during ROS

  • ROS in three month periods allowed

Options for failing to return service

Buy out for BMP

No buy out for MRBS, 12- year moratorium on Medicare provider number for contract breach

Buy out for BMP

MRBS Medicare provider number moratorium reduced to 6 years for contract breach



Self management improvements

Improved transparency for Special Consideration assessment

Further information about these changes will be announced in the coming months. AMSA will continue to be involved in consulting with the Department of Health on the finer details of the package, and will be advocating for the best possible final outcome for bonded students. If you have questions or require further clarification, you can direct your email to

Published: 10 May 2018