Should Immigration to Australia be Reduced? Report Calls for Fewer Expat GP’s
As a visually stunning nation with a range of climates, geographies and styles of living to enjoy, it’s not surprising that in listings of the world’s favourite emigration locations Australia usually ranks in the top five.
The notoriously laidback lifestyle, coupled with the prospect of good weather and a better work-life balance, has seen thousands of expats from across the globe begin a new life Down Under.
A high percentage of the thousands of professionals who move to Australia for work enter the healthcare sector, and several surveys (including one compiled by the Australian Tax Office) cite high ranking medical positions as among the best paid jobs in the nation.
However, a report compiled by Monash University’s Centre for Population and Urban Research has argued that the influx of overseas GPs recorded over the past seven years has been excessive, and that the level of services available is now far above the level actually required.
The report, which was fittingly titled ‘Too many GPs’ argued for a reduction in the number of overseas GPs being allowed into Australia to work, asserting: ‘The recruitment of further IMGs from overseas on limited registration to GP and hospital doctor positions should cease. [...] The level of GP services in both metropolitan and non-metropolitan is well above that considered by the medical manpower authorities in the past to be adequate. Much of this growth in GP employment came from a huge influx of doctors from overseas since 2006.’
This report follows figures collected by Pulse which showed an almost 40% increase in the number of GPs seeking Certificates of Good Standing (necessary for working overseas) in the last five years.
For the UK this drain on recourses is particularly concerning. A representative for the British Medical Association recently argued the impact of UK GPs moving overseas is ‘dreadful’. Dr Mary McCarthy went on to argue; ‘We don’t have enough trainees. We probably need 50% more GPs and at the moment we have more like 30-40%. IF those trainees are going abroad than the staff left behind will face pressure [...] GPs are already cutting back on what they can offer. I’m not sure the impact of this is being recognised. This is a significant danger.’
However, other industry experts understand why UK doctors are ‘fleeing the sinking ship’ of the NHS. As one medical secretary with Londonwide LMCs commented; ‘Workload, income and respect are all moving in the wrong direction [...] if I were emerging from my training now as a young man, working in Australia [...] would be very tempting.’
What do you think? Are you a GP in Australia, or considering becoming one? Let us know your thoughts on this report on Facebook, Twitter or in the Expat Hub Forum!