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Victoria has long relied heavily on International Medial Graduates for its workforce. This has been especially the case in the west of the State. Many UK doctors came out, and there was quite a contingent of doctors who had worked in various parts of the "Empire" before coming to rural Australia to earn money for their retirement. There were mission doctors, armed forces doctors, and doctors who had partial specialist training, or UK specialist fellowships, who preferred the generalist practice and country living.
The UK allowed free immigration of Commonwealth residents from the 1950s so that a huge proportion of hospital and community doctors were from Asia and Africa by the 1970s. These doctors were not required to take extra exams for General Practice in the UK until Vocational Registration was introduced. In 1986 New South Wales attempted to bring down 'doctor costs' and allowed many IMGs to come in, thereby setting the pattern for what would be needed once the graduate shortage became established.
Forty percent of Victorian rural GPs are now trained overseas and without them the rest of us would have to shut up shop. Despite worries that Developing Countries are being deprived of their intellectual capital, we acknowledge that individuals have the right to determine to move to where they can better themselves and their families.
Victorian rural doctors have a direct responsibility to the public to provide both hospital and community services at a level which meets medical needs. This in effect means providing advanced services. Such requirements underlay the formation of rural doctor associations like RDAV and in due course the creation of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, rural medical schools and regional GP training programs.
RDAV therefore supports training which properly enables doctors to develop their full potential as rural doctors, at a level which allows acquisition of skills necessary in rural areas, College Fellowship, and clinical privileges in rural hospitals. RDAV supports only standards of supervision which are in accord with RACGP and ACRRM criteria, which include 1 on 1 telephone supervision only for remote postings in the Remote Vocational Training Program.
Members of RDAV actively support overseas trained doctors in their practices and teach those working in rural hospitals. Any doctor hoping to work as a rural hospital visiting medical officer is strongly advised to obtain casualty experience. This is required for doctors studying in the regional training programs but is especially important for doctors expecting to see acute illness.
Overseas doctors with experience and qualifications in procedural generalist practice, especially anaesthetics and obstetrics but also emergency, are sought after for rural practice. As well as applying through the rural workforce agencies you are strongly advised to take additional advice from practising rural doctors when deciding where you would like to practice.