How To: Working As A Civilian Medical Professional On Defence Bases

Civilian Medical Professional On Defence Bases

The fact that you’re reading this probably means that you’re curious about how to work as a civilian on a Defence base in Australia. There are some common questions that we often hear about working as part of this contract, and some definite must-knows before you consider applying for a position through Beat Medical.

First, it’s important to note that you’re not working directly for Defence. You don’t have to wear camouflage, carry a weapon, or salute. You are, however, an integral part of the on-base healthcare team, working alongside other civilians, and uniformed medical personnel.

On the plus side, you’re working within a highly resourced team, with a very interesting and inherently fit patient base. Those who have worked on this project have found it very rewarding, and have found it an excellent opportunity to gain some exposure to some quite unique and interesting medicine. Some of the locations of the bases are spectacular (and some less than spectacular!), but offer a sense of community that you’ll be surprised with.

Of course, it’s not all rosy. The application process can be quite lengthy, and the amount of paperwork you face on the job might be significantly higher than you are used to. And, you’ll need to learn almost a whole new language of acronyms!  Working on defence bases isn’t for everyone, and although it’s probably more relaxed than many perceive it will be, it is still a military environment, which requires a certain level of conformity that some may not be comfortable with.

Hopefully, this Q&A will answer some common questions to help you decide whether to take the next step.


What Positions Are Available?

The variety of positions we recruit to for positions on defence bases is very broad, and includes:

  • Medical Officers (General Practitioners, GP Trainers, Underwater Medical Officers, Aviation Medical Officers).
  • Dentists, Dental Assistants, and Dental Hygienists
  • Registered and Enrolled Nurses (and EENs)
  • Allied Health (including physiotherapy, pharmacy, and psychology)
  • Health Support
  • Management


What Types Of Jobs Are There?

Depending on your profession, you can work in a permanent position, or a casual/locum job. Some professions (like doctors) often have locum and permanent vacancies across Australia, whereas other professions have more permanent roles than short term ones.


Where Are The Jobs?

Most of the major defence bases have positions for civilian healthcare professionals. For example, these can be in:

  • Townsville
  • Cairns
  • Brisbane & Regional QLD
  • Sydney & Regional NSW
  • Melbourne & Regional Victoria
  • Adelaide
  • Perth & Rockingham
  • Darwin & Katherine


What Is The Pay Like?

Depending on the position and the location, the pay is generally above market and very competitive. Relocation allowances can often be negotiated. Locum doctors are provided with travel and accommodation in addition to their hourly rate. Medical officers can choose to work as an employee or Pty Ltd contractor, either of which can have benefits, depending on their personal situation. To get an idea of the pay, have a look at the current vacancies for your profession.


How Busy Is It? Is There On-Call?

It can be very quiet or very busy. This depends on the base population, and also deployment patterns. You will be able to ask in interview for a more detailed idea of what it is like in the position you’re applying for. For Medical Officers, there can be on-call. You’ll be paid to be on call, and paid if you are called in. On-call is shared, and varies in volume from facility to facility.


What About Orientation?

You’ll receive orientation and training through online modules, and on-site induction. You will generally also have other people in your profession on site to help you along the way.


Do I Need A Provider Number?

No, you do not need a provider number. Defence does not come under Medicare. If you are 19AB restricted, it’s no problem as DWS isn’t relevant!


What Are The Selection Criteria?

Each position has its own selection criteria, but generally speaking you need to have at least two years of postgraduate experience, and hold Australian Citizenship. Temporary Visa Holders, Permanent Residents, and NZ Citizens are not eligible to apply. You must have current AHPRA registration if that is relevant to your role.


How Does The Application Process Work?

You can find a position on our website, or just give us a call or an email to let us know what your availability is. After that, we can quickly advise you whether you are eligible to apply, and then help you through the credentialling process. At the same time, you will need to apply for a security clearance with the Australian Government. This is completely different to any police checks or other security clearances you may have done before for other reasons (unless you currently hold a relevant security clearance).


To get started, or learn more, browse current jobs (these change very often!), or simply complete the below form for one of our experienced recruitment consultants to contact you to answer your questions and advise you on your eligibility for these roles.


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Our client holds a contract to provide Defence On Base Health Services as part of a broader Defence Health contract. We are a preferred medical recruitment agency for our client for this, and other interesting healthcare projects. Beat Medical provide recruitment services, and do not make final employment decisions in relation to this project.

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