Rural IMG programs ‘comparable to slavery’

DEPENDING on international medical graduates (IMGs) to plug workforce gaps in the bush is likely to continue for at least another decade, a report states.

The Deloitte Access Economics report, commissioned by the Department of Health and Ageing, examined programs looking at addressing workforce distribution in rural and remote areas.

The report stated that, barring unforeseen major changes in the current workforce programs, the headcount of doctors should increase nationally from around 300 to more than 400 per 100,000 population by 2020.

Of the total projected increase of 6413 doctors from 2011 to 2020, 47% (2986) were expected to come from overseas-trained doctors and 13% (858) from bonded programs.

RDAA president Dr Paul Mara said that the overseas-trained doctors programs were comparable to slavery.

“Because it is easier to import doctors from overseas and force them to go bush under a discriminatory and indeed immoral