Rural GPs defend the number of IMGs

RURAL doctors have leapt to the defence of international medical graduates (IMGs), slamming a Monash University report suggesting Australia had too many GPs.

The paper by Monash University reader in sociology Dr Bob Birrell (PhD), Australia’s New Health Crisis – Too Many Doctors, states that population-to-GP ratios in non-metropolitan areas are now well below the 1500 target.

He cited Medical Board of Australia registration statistics as saying there were now 2731 IMGs working on limited registration as GPs and 3430 as hospital medical officers.

Rural Health Workforce CEO Dr Kim Webber (PhD) said the report was “misguided and ill-informed” and would cause unnecessary alarm to people in the bush.

The report suggested that, contrary to many reports of GP shortages, Australia’s population-to-GP ratios in non-metropolitan areas were well below the 1500 target and urged a halt to “additional migration”