RACGP calls for removal of general practitioner from strategic skills list

Paul Hayes

5/12/2017 11:41:36 AM

The RACGP has made a submission to the Department of Employment and various health ministers as part of its advocacy efforts for the removal of ‘general practitioner’ from the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List.

The RACGP wants ‘general practitioner’ removed from the lists due to current and projected workforce numbers following the recent increase in Australian-trained medical graduates.
The RACGP wants ‘general practitioner’ removed from the lists due to current and projected workforce numbers following the recent increase in Australian-trained medical graduates.

The Federal Government announced reforms to Australia’s temporary and permanent skilled visa programs in April 2017. These reforms included regular updates of the skilled occupation lists – the Short Term Skilled Occupation Lists (STSOL) and the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) – that underpin these visa programs. These reforms were designed to ensure the lists would be more responsive to genuine skill needs across Australia.
With the Department of Employment’s next update to the lists due in January 2018, ‘general practitioner’ remains on the MLTSSL, with no change expected.
In reviewing these lists, the Department Of Employment created the Traffic Light Bulletin for public consultation and submission. The RACGP’s submission advocates for the removal of ‘general practitioner’ from the MLTSSL because:

  • Australia currently has an adequate supply of GPs
  • the increasing number of medical graduates means Australia is in danger of oversupply of GPs
  • medical workforce issues in Australia are no longer a matter of supply, but rather a matter of misdistribution.
In an effort to draw more attention to the issue, the RACGP has sent its submission to a number of politicians:
  • Greg Hunt, Minister for Health
  • Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment
  • Catherine King, Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare
  • Ed Husic, Shadow Minister for Employment Services, Workforce Participation and Future of Work
  • Brendan O’Connor, Shadow Minister for Employment and Workforce Participation
The submission was also sent to healthcare organisations that are likely to be experiencing similar issues of workforce supply, including the Australian Medical Association (AMA), the Confederate of Postgraduate Medical Education Councils, and the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges.
The full submission to the consultation on skilled migration occupation lists is available on the RACGP website.

doctor-oversupply medical-graduates Strategic-Skills-List

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Arvinder Joshi   8/12/2017 9:47:42 AM

RACGP needs to have its facts right.In spite of having Australian doctors, there are no doctors to serve in the bush.Towns like Gladstone, QLD has had 2 GP clinics closed because of lack of doctors. AHPRA requires supervisors for new GP's, but no VR doctors prefer to stay back in Bush to supervise the fresh ones. Communities are suffering.Please come out of your big town drawing rooms and check with the small town communities.

Farid Zaer   8/12/2017 10:09:49 AM

doctors should focus on caring treating teaching consulting and other activities related to health care, workforce issues are for politicians and planners and they work out where the issues are.we are only equipped to produce more GPs and specialist training is very limited and scarce and so reducing GPs is a catastrophe for the next 2 decades if not now. Or make more specialists and reverse the trend.

Philip Dawson   8/12/2017 10:27:42 AM

Great but the maldistribution of GPs and specialists needs to be addressed, perhaps by restricting medicare provider numbers in overdoctored big cities so they have to move to regional areas. Perhaps no more provider numbers for new GPs and specialists in most categories for inner and middle capital city suburbs forcing doctors to the outer suburbs and regional cities where they are needed? As medicare is taxpayer funded the taxpayer has the right to decide where it spends its funds. There is a limit to the number of pharmacies in a given area, why not doctors? There is nothing to stop a doctor setting up a purely private practice anywhere they like, but restricting medicare provider numbers in overdoctored areas is overdue.

Peter Finlayson   8/12/2017 11:21:07 AM

I agree that Australia should produce enough GPs for its own needs. However:
– rural Australia has higher mortality and morbidity than metropolitan Australia
– the maldistribution of GPs is significant
– before stopping (or even advocating for) International Medical Graduates to be prevented from going to rural Australia, it is essential to implement a process that will guarantee adequate medical services for one third of our population.
The College may be correct to say there are enough GPs in Australia. Until the maldistribution is corrected major health disparity will remain. The College should put its energy into the maldistribution, not stopping IMGs

Carmen Ast   10/12/2017 9:05:27 AM

We have spent 20 years supervising and training gps in our regional centre in Nsw and regardless of rural moratorium or rural bonding scholarships from university retention beyond 3 -4 years is rare , our majority overseas trained gp registrars swing back to the always available outer metro area of need jobs when they finish training . Provider number restriction is certainly preferable. Our best retention comes from home grown hospital based trainees that have called our town home for 4-5 years before entering gp training.


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