For­eign GPs cru­cial in bush

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS -

AUS­TRALIA’S health sys­tem is uni­ver­sally re­garded as one of the best in the world.

And medicine is one of the high­est paid pro­fes­sions in this coun­try.

So it seems ex­troad­i­nary that we are im­port­ing 2000 for­eign trained doc­tors a year to keep our med­i­cal sys­tem aloat, par­tic­u­larly in the bush.

Today, The Sun­day Mail re­veals that the num­ber of full-time over­seas trained GPs now ex­ceeds those trained here in Aus­tralia as lo­cally trained grad­u­ates shun gen­eral prac­tice for higher paid spe­cial­ties.

This is un­for­tu­nate when you con­sider that the health sys­tem in this coun­try starts at GP level. GPs are our front­line de­fence in try­ing to and ease the bur­den on our hos­pi­tals where emer­gency wait­ing times are con­stantly blow­ing out. So the fact that we now have more spe­cial­ists than gen­eral prac­ti­tion­ers is a ridicu­lous way to run a health sys­tem.

The rep­u­ta­tion of for­eign-trained doc­tors in this state was marred by the case of Bund­aberg sur­geon Jayant Pa­tel more than a decade ago. Pa­tel was ul­ti­mately cleared and the neg­a­tiv­ity re­placed by a re­al­i­sa­tion that over­seastrained doc­tors in Aus­tralia are now among the best in the coun­try.

For­eign-trained doc­tors, un­like some Aus­tralians, are pre­pared to go into the re­gions and bush to learn their craft as lo­cal GPs.

It’s a re­fresh­ing at­ti­tude and one more Aus­traliantrained doc­tors should take.

Many pro­fes­sion­als cut their teeth in the bush. It pro­vides them with the nec­es­sary train­ing to rise through the ranks and be­come bet­ter as they at­tempt to cut it in metropoli­tan jobs.

Lat­est data shows there were 12,950 full-time equiv­a­lent GPs work­ing in Aus­tralia who were trained over­seas com­pared to 12,199 full time em­ploy­ees who were ed­u­cated and trained here. They came mostly from the UK, Ire­land, India, and China.

Medicine is a no­ble pro­fes­sion. Our health­care spe­cial­ists do a won­der­ful job, of­ten in dif­fi­cult and try­ing cir­cum­stances. It is im­por­tant that our ed­u­ca­tors and par­ents en­cour­age Aus­tralian chil­dren to look upon medicine and gen­eral prac­tice as a great ca­reer op­tion.

While we ap­pre­ci­ate and en­cour­age over­seas-trained doc­tors, it is im­por­tant that Aus­tralians con­tinue our strong tra­di­tion of pro­duc­ing top-notch, world-class GPs and spe­cial­ists.

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