Finding a job is only half the story. Truth is, you can’t work as a doctor in Australia unless you’re fully registered, appropriately indemnified and have billing rights. And you can’t even set foot in the country until you have the right work visa.
We talk to British doctor – and berry farmer – Dr Lucy Reed, Director of Emergency Medicine at Launceston General Hospital, about her adventurous ED career and love of Tasmania. Even by emergency physician standards, Dr Lucy Reed has had an energetic and adventurous career...
It’s not a new problem. Australia, with it’s metro-educated medical workforce, attractive coastal cities and ‘daunting’ outback, often finds it hard to lure doctors away from friends, family and their café latte lifestyles. Here is a synopsis of historical strategies tried:
When I got my first junior doctor job in Australia in 1991, finding the right job was a real chore. There was no Internet to speak of, which meant limited knowledge and therefore limited choice. And by the way - all correspondence went snail mail - both ways!
I recently stayed with a good GP friend of mine in London. He is an excellent clinician, a compassionate human being and, above all, an incurable optimist. I was sad, therefore, to find him preoccupied with the decline of the NHS and disillusioned with his career working for it.
In a masterstroke of barely disguised money saving, Hockey has finally grasped the co-payment nettle and introduced a hefty $7 impost on the Australian public every time they want to see a doctor. I personally think $1 would have had the same effect without creating quite such a political firestorm.
The recent debate in Ireland over doctors' hours has brought back some not so fond memories of my own internship in Scotland. My record shift was 57 hours straight with about 1.5 hours sleep. I actually fell asleep whilst walking down the corridor to write up a paracetamol order.
For anyone with even a passing interest in how doctors get paid, all eyes are on Queensland at the moment. The new government is well down the path of making sweeping reforms to senior doctors' contracts and while the ‘whats’ are becoming clearer the ‘whys’ remain a little on the fuzzy side.