Covid-19 – How is it affecting General Practice in Australia?

Vicki MacLaren, Head of our International GP Team provides her insight into the current situation concerning recruitment in Australia.

Like the UK, Australian GPs saw their face to face patient consults drop considerably during Covid-19. Tele-medicine was not something that was previously used in Australia, however, the RACGP and Medicare were quick to act, putting a system in place that enabled doctors to continue to practice safely and care for their patients.  In very rural communities where it has been consistently challenging to find doctors, tele-medicine could provide a much-needed service to those communities post Covid-19.

During vaccination season, surgeries told me that they took advantage of the climate to schedule outdoor clinics where social distancing and infection control regulations could be observed. Practices also implemented strict timetables to ensure waiting rooms were safe.

As infection numbers are reducing in most areas, more patients are going back into surgeries with Doctors using PPE and continuing to follow appropriate safety protocols. There has been a recent virus spike in Victoria and the response has been to promptly go into lockdown.

The RACGP applied an automatic 6-month extension to start dates for any GPs who have already received their comparability outcome. AHPRA are allowing ID checks to be carried out by members of staff at the surgeries they are joining.

There is currently a travel ban on entering Australia however Medical specialists are on the travel exemption list. You can apply for an exemption once you have your visa and will be asked to supply various information including your intended travel date. Once you arrive in Australia there is a mandatory 14-day quarantine, this applies to all entrants regardless of visa status. You can find more information on the government's advice for travellers here.

We do not currently have any indication as to how long travel restrictions will be in place however we do still have practices across Australia who are recruiting overseas GPs.  Prior to Covid-19, it took around 8 months to complete all of the paperwork. So, for any GPs thinking of a move, the earliest you could be in Australia would be March next year if you started the application process now.

If you would like to discuss General Practice in Australia or find out more about opportunities, please contact vicki@headmedical.com or look at positions available here

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