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Why Australia Has A Critical Shortage Of General Practitioners

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By Author: Malcolm Reeves
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General practice is pivotal to the success of primary health care in Australia. According to RACGP’s recent benchmark report, almost 80% of people were identified having regular appointments with GP, increasing to more than 90% among these were 65 and older. However, these numbers may not tell the whole story.

Though the health workforce is growing at a faster rate, increased demand for GPs has put pressure on the sector. The primary contributors of this pressure are due to Australia’s changing demography, especially an ageing population and an ageing health workforce. Besides, the GP shortage is going unnoticed due to the overall number of medical practitioners is rising and at the same time, specialist numbers rose by 18%. This masks the GP situation as other medical practitioners are starting to find it difficult to get meaningful employment.

On the other hand, there are a significant number of general practitioners aged above 55 years who are about to retire. Today’s ageing medical workforce may present the profession with challenges, such as finding an immediate replacement as this large generational proportion is rapidly heading towards retirement.

It’s clear that GP shortages in Australia will worsen in the next 10 years. So, will an abundance of medical students be trained to follow the role of our retiring GPs to fill the gap? Unfortunately, No! Though we can see increased amounts of medical students than ever before, only a few are choosing to become a qualified GP. Despite the number of general practitioners that has remained unchanged over the past 10 years, doctors are venturing out into other specialties at a rapid pace.

The initiatives taken to encourage medical graduates to practice in rural and remote areas are not delivering the numbers required. So, Australia continues to rely on overseas doctors to take up locum medical jobs in Australia to fill the shortage and to ensure that Australia becomes more self-sufficient in the provision of qualified health professionals.

As communities throughout Australia wave goodbye to their retiring GPs, it becomes unclear who they will greet to take over this important role. These new vacancies take several years to fill due to a limited supply of permanent local GPs, especially in outback areas. Currently, many rural towns within NSW have a significant amount of vacancies for GPs that the situation has become urgent.

With a shortage of permanent general practitioners in outback areas, these local communities are serviced by specialist medical recruiters such as Ochre Recruitment who ensure locum doctor jobs are always filled. GPs are rotated on a weekly basis and locum doctors are an adequate solution at this point and can work well on a temporary basis. However, there is a serious demand to find a permanent solution for this critical shortage of medical jobs in Australia. For locum medical jobs and GP anaesthetics locum jobs, contact Ochre Recruitment today.

The author is a General Practitioner who helps doctors take up both permanent and locum medical jobs in Australia. Visit https://www.ochrerecruitment.com.au/ for more details.

More About the Author

Take your medical career to the next level with Ochre Recruitment. We provide GP & Specialist, Locum & Permanent Doctor positions in Australia & New Zealand. You’ll benefit from the personalised service that matches you to positions that suit your current lifestyle needs and career goals. Ochre Recruitment place doctors in remote, regional and metropolitan regions. Find the ideal job and lifestyle you want, with the help and support of Ochre Recruitment making the process as easy as possible.

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