Australia has become the destination of choice for a number of people world-wide, especially in terms of finding work.
Despite the fact that we are in a midst of a global economic crisis, Australia is still a land full of opportunity and there are a number of professions that one can pursue there.
Healthcare and medical professionals are some of the most in-demand jobs at the moment and according to news.com.au, in the last year the advertisement of General Practitioner (GP) jobs nearly doubled. The same article also reports that other hot jobs for which there is a big demand are Credit Assessors, Geoscientists and IT Security Specialists.
Australian Healthcare and Medicine
Australia is considered to have one of the best health systems in the world. In addition, not only are Australians considered to be very healthy overall, but as a nation it also has one of the highest rates of life expectancy globally.
There is currently a big demand for GPs to fill positions in the rural communities of Australia. The roles are varied and may include having to undertake a range of specialist services. Due to demand, these positions are being incentivised by the Rural Health Workforce Strategy, an Australian government initiative that seeks not only to place GPs in rural or remote areas, but also to ensure that they will receive on-going support.
Challenges Rural Doctors
The demand for rural doctors in Australia is becoming critical. The number of people opting to live in rural regions is increasing significantly and, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, it is anticipated that by 2025 this figure will reach two million.
As very few Australian medical graduates want to work outside of the capital cities, it has been reported by the Rural Health Workforce Australia that international doctors now account for 41% of all doctors working in rural and regional Australia.
More needs to be done
The health of people living in rural communities is being negatively impacted due to limited access to adequate medical care.
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia is adamant that more needs to be done and quickly, especially in the training and recruitment of medical doctors so at to relieve this situation. The pressure is on to bring more doctors on board, not only to address the needs of the people but also to alleviate the demands on the existing rural doctors who are being forced to take on an unsustainable workload, which will very quickly lead to burnout.
In addition to increasing the number of rural doctors, the classification system in terms of incentive-based pay of doctors also has to change.
The level of responsibility undertaken by doctors in different regions varies. Doctors working in smaller towns very often work 24/7, and have to take on more tasks in order to meet the needs of their patients. For this reason, in May 2013, the Minister of Health, Tanya Plibersek, announced the government’s intention to implement a new and improved classification system for support and funding in respect of the medical workforce in rural locations.
Just how bad is it?
Not every doctor working in the Australian outback will paint a negative picture of day-to-day life. In fact, it’s quite the contrary because living in a rural community comes with it a lifestyle that city life could never compete with. Whilst the demands placed on rural doctors needs to be addressed, it is not a completely doom and gloom scenario. This is evidence by reports from many doctors who enjoy the quiet and natural wonder of life outside the metropolis.
About the Author: In her quest to see basic health care accessible to all, Eleni Hoplaros explores the drive to bring doctors back to the rural outback.