High number of overseas doctors in the region

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Rural Health West chief executive officer Tim Shackleton. PHOTO: DANELLA BEVIS
Camera IconRural Health West chief executive officer Tim Shackleton. PHOTO: DANELLA BEVIS Credit: Danella Bevis

Nearly three-quarters of general practitioners working in the Pilbara have come from overseas, according to data provided by Rural Health West.

Of the 60 GPs working in the Pilbara, 42 are international medical graduates, highlighting the lack of West Australians willing to work in regional WA.

In December, Rural Health Assistant Minister David Gillespie announced a stocktake of the number and location of placements to determine ways to address the shortage of practitioners in country areas.

Rural Health West chief executive Tim Shackleton said while international GPs were valued, it demonstrated increased training placements had not translated to more graduates heading to the bush.

“The significant increase in medical undergraduate places since 2001 slightly increased the number of Australian-trained doctors working in rural Western Australia, however we are still very reliant on international medical graduates,” he said. The departments of health and education and training will jointly assess the number and distribution of medical school places and medical schools in Australia.

It is expected the assessment will be concluded by April.

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