FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Hospital Staffing Crisis - August 2001 | AMA (WA)


Flashback FRiday

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Hospital Staffing Crisis – August 2001

Friday August 13, 2021


The use of overseas trained temporary visa doctors (TVDs) to meet Unmet Areas of Need now accounts for almost 30% of all junior hospital doctor positions. The Medical Board recently confirmed that in mid-July there were 26 psychiatric registrars, 141 other registrars and 90 RMOs registered under the Unmet Areas of Need provisions of the Medical Act of Western Australia to practise in public hospitals in Western Australia. 

The use of such doctors, in appropriate numbers, is beneficial in terms of exchange, education and cultural mix. The increasing allowance on OTDs however, is a matter of major concern and leaves the WA Health System exposed if the source of such doctors dries up. The increased cost, lack of continuity and exposure to changes in labour markets is well illustrated by nursing problems.

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Interestingly, Health Ministers previously agreed to reduce the use of TVDs but have increased reliance on TVDs due to problems of attracting and retaining doctors residing in Australia. The AMA is concerned that there needs to be a proper balance and initiatives put in place to attract and retain doctors from within Australia, whether locally or overseas trained. Solutions have been provided to the State Government, e.g., the Salaried Agreement, but the Labor Government have rejected these. The Labor Government’s failure to group opportunities and current attitude and approach is, unfortunately, exacerbating attraction, retention, commitment and morale problems.


Extracted from Medicus

Vol 41, No. 7 – August 2001