Single Employer Model

The Single Employer Model (SEM) is a Commonwealth initiative that allows Rural Generalists and General Practice trainees to be employed by a single employer for up to four years while they complete their training.

One challenge confronting regional areas is the recruitment and retention of doctors, and the SEM provides an opportunity to address this.

Both rural and metropolitan GP trainees generally need to leave public sector employment during their required training periods in private general practice which results in them losing their entitlements. However, under the SEM, Rural Generalist and GP trainees can have the same employer for the duration of their training. This means they'll retain their employment entitlements which accrue over time, including sick leave and parental leave.

The SEM is therefore recognised as a potentially useful tool in attracting future rural GP and Rural Generalist trainees. The Rural Support Service, in collaboration with a number of stakeholders, has worked to enable SEM trials across the State.

South Australia already has one trial in place in the Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network (LHN) at the Riverland Academy of Clinical Excellence (RACE), which has showed early signs of success in attracting and retaining trainees.

In May 2024 the Commonwealth and SA Department for Health and Wellbeing announced a new trial, which will see 60 positions become available under the model across the remaining five regional LHNs: Barossa Hills Fleurieu, Yorke and Northern, Flinders and Upper North, Eyre and Far North, and Limestone Coast.

This will be delivered through a collaborative effort between the Rural Support Service and their Rural Generalist Coordination Unit under the Rural Generalist Program South Australia (RGPSA), the regional LHNs, the State and Federal governments, and local stakeholders including GP clinics.

Further information on trialling the SEM in South Australia is available on the RGPSA website, or by downloading the RSS SEM Factsheet (PDf 245KB).