Australia's Medical Shortage Specialities
Australia is a favoured expatriate destination, constantly ranking highly in global expatriate surveys. Its quality of life, stable economy and political system, warm climate and natural resources attract entrepreuneurs, investors and professionals looking for promising opportunities.
Doctors are in luck as a professional group constantly featured in skills shortage lists but not all medical specialisms are short of native Australian talent. So before you consider Australia as your destination and make preparations to move, it is worth researching the demand for your skills and the opportunities available.
Some medical disciplines are saturated with local physicians and have few openings for international medical graduates; neurosurgery, orthopaedics, plastic surgery are among the most competitive and difficult to enter. However other specialisms face constant shortages, some regional and some national.
Medical Specialities with Strong Demand
1 - General Practitioners - Family Physicians
There is more independence of practice than in the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom which makes Australia a popular and desirable location for hundreds of GPs seeking an escape from the faltering NHS.
Life for a GP in Australia is far more enjoyable and productive than it is in the UK. Working hours are shorter, facilities are well staffed and consultation times are longer.
General Practitioners with postgraduate qualifications from UK, Ireland, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Spain, Malta and Belgium are accepted as general practioners in Australia and the process for obtaining accreditation and a licence to practice is easy.
Rural and Remote Medicine is a speciality within General Practice in Australia and New Zealand and focuses on the challenging area of delivering sound medical care to communities which are far from coventional medical centres and often resistant to them. If this is one of your interests, you will find ample scope for practice and research in this field.
2 - Psychiatists
Perhaps the fastest growing medical speciality in the country, if not the world. Australia and near neighbour New Zealand are facing a massive battle with mental health, and so the demand for psychiatric specialists in the country has never been higher.
Vacancies are opening up all the time for consultants, with subspecialty roles for those specialising in geriatric, child and adolescent and other areas like addiction support also rising in demand.
If you’re a psychiatrist looking to take your skills overseas, then there are few locations where you are needed more urgently than Australia.
3 - Anaesthetists
We’ve noticed an increasing number of positions becoming available for Anaesthetists, especially locum roles. Due to Australia’s location many medics can spend a number of weeks abroad attending seminars as it simply isn’t practical to fly out for a couple of days. This creates openings for Anaesthetists without whom many procedures simply cannot be conducted.
The openings aren’t strictly short term locums either however, with plenty of opportunities arising every year for well trained, Western qualified, Anaesthetists to take their skills down under.
4 - Emergency Medicine Physicians
In an all-action country like Australia, it will come as little surprise that Emergency Medicine Consultants are often in high demand.
With a lifestyle focused on living outdoors, and sport playing a major role in everyday life, treating patients with head injuries, bone breaks and and even more serious traumas is one of the most common tasks for medics in the country.
Abundant wild animals, some quite dangerous, also create a plethora of unsual emergency cases with snake bites and kangaroo attacks being some of the most common.
The challenge of providing a decent quality of emergency care to rural and remote areas of the country is being met by telemedicine services which offer an exciting new scope of pratice.
Consultants are also expected to be involved with the education of junior doctors and medical students and the leadership and continuous improvement of local and regional emergency services, which provides great opportunities for learning new skills.
Working hours are lower, salaries can be higher and a great work/life balance comes as standard!
5 - Internist - General Physician
Internal medicine physicians with a broad general scope of practice and subspecialist interests are sought throughout the country, mostly for general hospitals providing secondary medical care in suburban or rural areas, some just one hour's drive from the major cities.
Working conditions and salaries are excellent with paid annual leave, pension contributions and ample opportunities for research, teaching and continued medical education.
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