Foreign GPs crucial in bush
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.