Political Guts

The Doctor Shortage, Medical Training and University Funding

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Australia, a supposedly “first world” country, with a population of just over 20 million, cannot educate enough doctors to provide adequate medical services for our own population.  Therefore, we import doctors, born and trained in “third world” countries, to employ in Australia to provide medical services.  Mostly we get away with it, but occasionally, we have to extradite them from other countries around the world, after their lack of expertise here is uncovered.


The crime is not that the doctor from Asia was negligent or incompetent, but that he was needed here in the first place!  We have a chronic shortage of doctors, nurses, dentists and medical professionals in general, but we charge our local medical students a phenomenal amount for medical qualifications, give them a debt for life, offer them miserable, overworked, understaffed hospital conditions to work in and wonder why they would rather be technicians in some other industry!  Then we advertise around the globe for anyone who has ever held a scalpel to come and work in Australia, on very attractive (ridiculously high) salaries that our own graduates are not allowed to earn, to come and work in ”the lucky country”!


The solution is simple.  Medical qualifications through university in Australia need to be free for those who qualify to be trained as medicos in a genuine medical field, and within the period of qualification, the medical shortage in Australia would be resolved.


Currently, degrees cost in excess of one hundred thousand dollars and much more for specialist degrees and postgraduate qualifications.  If university fees for doctors, dentists, nurses, anaesthetists and other specialists in the field were free, the people who are now choosing other technical fields and trades for which they can qualify in shorter times, at lower costs, and begin work with remuneration of 6 figures, would choose to return to work in their fields of genuine interest.  Many of these people are choosing to work elsewhere, simply because the hurdles imposed by our current system are just not worth it, when compared with the ease and financial rewards of entering other technical professions.


Medicine and the practice of the healing arts is a passion for most people who enter the profession.  Currently, only the people who can afford the luxury of a medical degree costing hundreds of thousands of dollars can justify the challenges placed in the path of hopeful medical students with that passion.


However, people with varying levels of medical qualifications gained internationally flock here, to take advantage of the problems we have created for our young people choosing careers, rather than their life’s work and passion.  Until this situation is reversed, and our fundamental approach to medicine changes, we cannot expect either decent medical treatment, or a decent local medical team, trained from our own high school graduates.


And how do we fund this?  We won’t be paying exorbitant wages to dubiously qualified, internationally trained third world doctors to begin with.  We will be collecting taxes from our own highly paid medical doctors and dentists and those considerable earnings will go back into treasury.  The health portfolio needs over a billion dollars invested immediately, and the cost of paying the university fees to provide our own doctors pales into insignificance in comparison.  The Transaction Tax will make a huge difference, especially when combined with federal administration of the health department and the elimination of the other doubled up bureaucracies.

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