The Department uses the Districts of Workforce Shortage system as a mechanism to identify and address the maldistribution of the medical workforce in Australia. A DWS is an area identified as having below average access to services attracting a Medicare rebate. This is determined using population data and Medicare billing information to get a GP-to-population ratio. The DWS system is updated annually using the latest Medicare billing and population statistics. The next update will be in February 2019.