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Disgruntled newly qualified doctors may go Down Under

The Australian government is planning to relieve the country's chronic shortage of GPs by snaring around 1,000 newly-qualified doctors from the UK.

Health officials from the Australian national GP training scheme are planning to visit later this year to recruit doctors who failed to get specialist training posts.

Under the new Modernising Medical Careers system, 21,000 doctors will compete for 10,000 coveted posts.

Australia has a shortage of around 1,300 GPs.

Dr Andrew Thomson, chair of the GP registrar subcommittee, said training courses in the two countries were similar. 'The introduction of Modern-ising Medical Careers and the widespread privatisation of the health service means it's even easier for doctors to turn their back on medicine in the UK.'

Dr Richard Savage, VTS course organiser at Guy's and St Thomas's Hospital, said the number of trained doctors being left without NHS jobs was another example of a lack of joined-up thinking by the Government. He said: 'It spends a quarter of a million pounds training these doctors, only to cast them aside.'

The Royal Australian College of GPs has criticised the federal government for failing to attract Australian medical graduates into general practice.

'To do so, issues of remuneration, excessive red tape and attention to causes of workforce pressures must be addressed', it said in November 2005.

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