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Australia has ‘too many GPs’ and should reduce immigration, claims report

A major report has called for a reduction in the number of overseas GPs entering Australia to work, after a ‘huge influx’ of GPs from abroad.

According to the report, there has been ‘sharp increase’ in the numbers of GPs in Australia seen since 2006, and that the level of GP services currently being provided is well above the level needed.

The report from the Centre for Population and Urban research at Monash University - called ‘Too Many GPs’ was published earlier this year and recommended that the recruitment of international medical graduates on ‘limited registration’ should be stopped because there is ‘no need’ for them. 

Pulse recently reported that more GPs than ever are considering emigrating from the UK, with Australia a popular destination.

But the report’s authors recommended that immigration of GPs should be reduced.

It says: ‘The recruitment of further IMGs from overseas on limited registration to GP and hospital doctor positions should cease. There is no need for more limited-registration IMGs, yet the numbers being sponsored on 457 visas is surging-reaching 2,633 in 2011-12.’

It adds: ‘There has been a sharp increase in the number of full-time-work-equivalent GPs billing on Medicare since the mid-2000s.

‘The level of GP services in both metropolitan and non-metropolitan is well above that considered by the medical manpower authorities in the past to be adequate.’

‘Much of this growth in GP employment came from a huge influx of doctors from overseas since 2006.’

But Health Workforce Australia – a Australian government body - criticised the report, claiming that many of the findings were based on inaccurate and outdated data.

It said: ‘Health Workforce Australia has completed a thorough analysis of the criticisms and has found a number of inaccuracies and issues.’