Encouraging Australian-trained doctors to rural and remote areas

27 May 2011

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.