Too many GPs in Australia, sociologist claims

AUSTRALIA’S attempts to plug the GP skills gap with international medical graduates (IMGs) has “overshot its goal” and the country is “awash with doctors wishing to become GPs”, a sociologist has claimed.

Contrary to many reports of GP shortages, a 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 writes that while Australian-trained medical graduates can only practise as GPs after three or four years in a closely supervised GP registrar program, “limited registration” for IMGs lets them practise for four years under less tight supervision if they “make some progress” to meeting Australian standards.

“There is an urgent need for a new review of the GP workforce situation,” Dr Birrell wrote.