Why is there a surplus of doctors, yet a shortage of GPs?

Published on 01/05/2018

General practice has always been a vital element of Australia’s healthcare system. Nearly all Australians will make an appointment with a general practitioner once during any given year. In the recent past decades, these visits have resulted in a change of GPs’ clinical work. General practitioners have become more centralised around specific areas, including aged care, frequent management of chronic conditions, more referrals and test ordering. This is due to the influence of the Baby Boomer generation ageing and high demand for treatments.

As a significant number of patients are growing older, the same is occurring for the doctors who take care of them. General practitioners have the greatest number of employed doctors aged over 55 out of any clinician group. Today’s ageing medical workforce may present the profession with challenges, such as finding immediate replacement as this large generational proportion is rapidly heading towards retirement.

So, will an abundance of medical students be trained to follow the role of our retiring GPs to fill the gap?

Unfortunately, no. There are rising amounts of medical students than ever before, however less entrants are choosing to follow the route of training to become a qualified GP. Despite the number of general practitioners that has remained unchanged over the past 10 years, doctors are venturing out into other specialties at a rapid pace.

As communities throughout Australia wave goodbye to their retiring GPs, it becomes unclear who they will greet to take over this important role. These new vacancies take several years to fill due to a limited supply of permanent local GPs, especially in outback areas. Barham is located within south-western NSW and is approximately 800 kilometers away from the state capital, Sydney. Currently, many rural towns within NSW have a significant amount of vacancies for GPs that the situation has become urgent.

With a shortage of permanent general practitioners in outback areas, these local communities are serviced by specialist medical recruiters such as Ochre Recruitment who ensure locum doctor jobs are always filled.  Often fly-in fly-out GPs are rotated on a weekly basis. Locum medical jobs are an adequate solution at this point, and can work well on a temporary basis. However, there is a serious demand to find permanent solutions for medical jobs in Australia.

If you have any inquiries or would like to speak to a member of Ochre Recruitment regarding medical jobs in Australia, then simply contact us today with the provided details.

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