The recent federal budget offers an apparent windfall for the Australian taxpayer - a $400 million saving for the country thanks to a reduced intake of overseas doctors by 200 per annum.
The much-maligned overseas trained doctor makes an easy scapegoat, blamed for everything from costing too much to providing a lower standard of care, despite little evidence to support either claim.
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!
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.