The Practice Nurse Incentive Program (PNIP)

The Practice Nurse Incentive Program (PNIP) was introduced in 2012 and provides incentive payments to practices to support an expanded and enhanced role for nurses working in general practice.

Page last updated: 23 November 2018

Note: From 1 July 2019, the PNIP will transition to the Workforce Incentive Program.

The PNIP provides support to eligible general practices, Aboriginal Medical Services and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to offset the cost of employing a practice nurse, or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker/Practitioner. Eligible practices in urban areas of workforce shortage, Aboriginal Medical Services and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services may also receive support to employ an allied health professional.

The PNIP provides incentive payments to eligible practices that includes:

  • an incentive payment to engage eligible health professionals up to $125,000 per annum depending on practice size.
  • a loading for Aboriginal Medical Services and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services;
  • a rural loading based on Australian Standard Geographical Classification – Remoteness Areas (ASGC-RA);
  • a one off accreditation assistance payment of $5,000 to support eligible non-accredited practices to become accredited. This accreditation assistance payment will cease from 1 May 2019; and
  • a loading for practices that provide GP services to Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card Holders.

The PNIP is administered by the Department of Human Services on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Health and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Further information on the PNIP including details on practice eligibility, how to apply, calculation of payments and the Program Guidelines are available on the Department of Human Services (DHS) website.

Workforce Incentive Program

In the 2018-19 Federal Budget, the Australian Government announced changes to streamline the PNIP and the General Practice Rural Incentive Program (GPRIP) into a single Workforce Incentive Program (WIP) as part of the Stronger Rural Health Strategy.

The WIP will provide targeted financial incentives to encourage medical practitioners to deliver eligible primary health care services in regional, rural or remote areas that have difficulty attracting and retaining medical practitioners. It also provides financial incentives to support eligible general practices to employ nurses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker/Practitioners and allied health professionals.

The WIP better targets incentives to address workforce requirements in specific geographic areas, giving patients in regional, rural and remote areas improved access to quality medical, nursing and allied health services. The WIP aims to strengthen team-based and multi-disciplinary models of care enabling collaborative arrangements to be put in place that will better support community needs.

The WIP will commence on 1 July 2019.

Under the WIP, the PNIP will transition to the WIP - Practice Stream and the GPRIP will transition to the WIP - Doctor Stream. General practices and medical practitioners participating in the PNIP and GPRIP on 30 June 2019 will automatically transition to the WIP.

Further information on the WIP and Stronger Rural Health Strategy is available on the Department of Health’s website.