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Australia may drop GPs from shortage occupation list amid 'excess supply'

The Australian Government has warned they could drop GPs from a list of occupations which enables them to move to the country under its points-based migration system.

The move follows evidence that junior doctors, disillusioned by Jeremy Hunt’s decision to push ahead with a new contract for seven day working, were increasingly looking to move abroad.

GP is currently included as one of the professions on Australia's Shortage Occupation List (SOL), which makes it easier to get a visa, but the Department of Education and Training said there is emerging evidence of ‘an excess supply’.

GPs are one of a range of medical specialties newly included on Australia’s ‘flagged occupation list’ for this reason, also alongside anaesthetists; cardiologists; endocrinologists; gastroenterologist; intensive care specialists; paediatricians; obstetricians and gynaecologists.

The current Skilled Occupation List is relevant for applicants who are applying for visas through the ’independent points-based skilled migration’ pathway, a Family Sponsored Points Tested visa, or temporary graduate visas. But there are state and employer-sponsored immigration programmes that may not be impacted.

The Australian Departmnet of Education and Training said: ‘The SOL identifies occupations that would benefit from skilled migration for the purpose of meeting the medium to long-term skill needs of the Australian economy.

‘Following each review, there are a number of occupations which are "flagged" for possible removal in the future. Generally, occupations are flagged when there is emerging evidence of excess supply in the labour market.’

Earlier this year Pulse reported that applications to the GMC for a Certificate of Current Professional Status – necessary for UK trained doctors to work abroad – had rocketed following Mr Hunt’s pledge to push through seven day working.

In all, 298 applications were received on 11 February, and 106 the day after, after the health secretary told Parliament he had ‘decided to proceed’ with redefining Saturdays and weekday evenings as regular working hours.

This compared to 261 applications in the ten days prior to the announcement.

Despite calls, GPs are not included on the UK’s shortage occupation list to boost from overseas despite an ongoing workforce crisis and last month Jeremy Hunt opted for a new strategy to prevent junior doctors heading overseas.

He told the Conservative Party Conference they would be chained to the NHS for four years after training, or be forced to pay back their costs, as part of a drive to make the NHS ‘self-sufficient’ in doctors.

Readers' comments (23)

  • Canada and USA should also be considered

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  • New Zealand's could also be an option?

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  • USA?? Not sure as one will have to go through residency again.

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  • Still a shortage in New Zealand and for GP's too. Also in 9 years 40% of existing GPs are due to retire. It seems like you can still get a permanent residency visa after a few years so I imagine the exodus of GP's from UK may be redirected there.

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  • Just not this sinkhole of an ex-nation. Get out whilst you can, it's only going to get worse thanks to Brexit / Tory policy / Jezza / RCGP / BMA / GMC / CQC / rocketing indemnity charges / massive funding and salaray cuts (sadly could do this all day)

    Why Maureen are your colouring books and tea bags not enough to keep GPs here??!!

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  • It's now or never comrades. Run for the hills!

    Darkness is on is way in the UK.

    Ditch the college comrades!!

    Ditch the cardigans comrades!!

    Ditch the country comrades!!!!!!!!

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  • Can somebody tell me who or what a cardigan is. Pretty sure I can guess but just want to make sure.

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  • Imagine a GP in his mid 50s. He may wear brown +/- a grey beard. He has a large pension and his mortgage is long since paid down. His kids have left. He wants everything to remain as it is. He holds some power with the local LMC and in the past has been part of fundholding etc. He is not worried about pay cuts and thinks no-one else should be. He thinks GPs should start working nights again and feels that the patient is always right. He feels that the system is currently working fine. Ring any bells?

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  • Or imagine a GP in a lead position...nice earner. In CCG
    Forget small practices as NHS support they wither on the vine.
    He has contracts awarded to his surgery.
    Kids in private ed mortgage paid, why move?

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  • Ding ding ding. Is it an M&S cardigan? Im growing the beard just cant pull off the cardigan.

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