The National Rural Health Alliance is following up its recent evidence to the House of Representatives Inquiry into support for Overseas Trained Doctors (OTDs) with a plan that has the capacity to rapidly increase the number of Australian-trained GPs working in rural areas.
The plan takes advantage of the expected situation in which there will be insuffient intern places next year for the total number of 2011 medical graduates. The plan would boost the number of internships in non-hospital settings in 2012. With agreement among Federal and State authorites and professsional bodies about ‘non-traditional settings for internships’, this could reduce the serious shortage of GPs in rural and remote areas without calling on increasing numbers of OTDs.
As well as its important benefits for rural areas, the proposal would also help give greater emphasis to illness prevention and primary care, rather than acute care in hospitals.
“The proposal would allow for a greater number of medical graduates from Australian universities to do their internship in a rural, regional or remote area, laying a good basis for their recruitment to the bush in the future,” said Jenny May, Alliance Chairperson.
The Alliance’s plan will be forwarded as supplemetary evidence to the House of Representatives Inquiry into the administrative arrangements for OTDs who seek work in Australia.
In evidence to the Committeee earlier this week the Alliance proposed a simplified system to assess the qualifications of OTDs without prejudicing the safety or quality of the services they provide. The Alliance also suggested a more streamlined approach to the support of OTDs once they are in Australia.