Patient survey reveals communication gaps

Australian-trained doctors need to take a greater role in assisting IMGs to navigate the linguistic and cultural norms of the nation, and a mentoring scheme led by Australian-trained doctors would be of great benefit.

This would enable local GPs to train and upskill their IMG colleagues, so they were able to understand Australian vernacular, cultural idioms and other specific rural issues. 

This would also foster greater opportunities for interaction with their peers outside of the consulting rooms, she added.

Dr Bulsara also explained that the communication obstacles came from both sides, with patients also unwilling to ask their GP for clarification in the short time of the consults. 

*Bulsara C, et al. (2011). Getting to know the ‘grunt’ language: Perceived communication barriers between international medical graduates and patients in Central Wheatbelt catchments of Western Australia. 2011 Primary Health