Overseas-trained doctors in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services: many unanswered questions

Med J Aust 2007; 186 (10): 528-530.
  • Rachelle S Arkles1,2
  • Peter S Hill2
  • Lisa R Jackson Pulver1

  • 1 Muru Marri Indigenous Health Unit, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, Sydney, NSW.
  • 3 International and Indigenous Health, School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.

Correspondence: peter.hill@sph.uq.edu.au


Our research is funded by the Cooperative Research Centre in Aboriginal Health. We would like to acknowledge the contributions of the research team: John Boffa, Condy Canuto, Angela Durey, Marisa Gilles, Susan Goodall, Vanessa Lee, Denis Lennox, Mary Martin, Katia Peterson, John Wakerman, Susan Wearne and Anthony Zwi.

Competing interests:

None identified.

  • 1. Access Economics Pty Ltd. Indigenous health workforce needs. Canberra: Australian Medical Association, Jul 2004: 16.
  • 2. Boffa J. Is there a doctor in the house? Aust N Z J Public Health 2002; 26: 301-304.
  • 3. Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. General practice statistics. Table 18: GP headcount by place of basic qualification and broad RRMA, 1995-96 to 2003-04. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, April 2005.
  • 4. Joyce CM. Uncovering an invisible workforce [letter]. Med J Aust 2004; 181: 645. <MJA full text>
  • 5. Queensland Rural Medical Support Agency. Solutions for the provision of primary care to rural and remote communities in Queensland. Brisbane: QRMSA, 2004. http://www.healthworkforce.com.au/main.asp?NodeID=27677 (accessed Apr 2007).
  • 6. Gruen RL, Yee TFM. Dreamtime and awakenings: facing realities of remote area Aboriginal health. Med J Aust 2005; 182: 538-540. <MJA full text>
  • 7. Hill PS, Wakerman J, Matthews S, Gibson O. Tactics at the interface: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health managers. Soc Sci Med 2001; 52: 467-480.
  • 8. Maher P. A review of ‘traditional’ aboriginal health beliefs. Aust J Rural Health 1999; 7: 229-236.
  • 9. Lowell A. Communication and cultural knowledge in Aboriginal health care. Darwin: Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal and Tropical Health, 2001.
  • 10. Mullan F. The metrics of the physician brain drain. N Engl J Med 2005; 353: 1810-1818.
  • 11. Charles J, Britt H, Valenti L. The evolution of the general practice workforce in Australia, 1991–2003. Med J Aust 2004; 181: 85-90. <MJA full text>
  • 12. Birrell B, Hawthorne L. Medicare Plus and overseas-trained medical doctors. People and Place 2004; 12(2): 84-100.
  • 13. Hawthorne L, Birrell B, Young D. The retention of overseas trained doctors in general practice in regional Victoria. Melbourne: Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne, 2003.
  • 14. Arkles R. Overseas trained doctors in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services: a literature review. Muru Marri Indigenous Health Unit Monograph Series. Sydney: MMIHU and the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health, Sept 2006. http://www.crcah.org.au/ documents/Literature%20Review.pdf (accessed Apr 2007).
  • 15. Australian Medical Workforce Advisory Committee and Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. Survey of doctors working in rural and remote locations under Australia’s five-year overseas trained doctor recruitment scheme. AMWAC Report 2004.1. Sydney: AMWAC, 2004.
  • 16. Health Workforce Queensland and Rural Doctors Association of Queensland. ‘The other side of the equation’ – issues that impact on overseas-trained doctors in rural and remote Queensland. Brisbane: HWQ and RDAQ, 2005.
  • 17. Death E, Reath J, Curtis P. The needs of GPs and GP registrars working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. Melbourne: Rural Faculty of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, 2002.
  • 18. Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia. Delivery of a cultural safety training pilot program. Final report to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Perth: AHCWA, 2005. http://www.racgp.org.au/Content/NavigationMenu/Advocacy/AboriginalandTorresStraitIslanderHealth/Projectreports/20060213AHCWA_report.pdf (accessed Apr 2007).
  • 19. Committee of Deans of Australian Medical Schools. CDAMS Indigenous Health Curriculum Framework. Melbourne: VicHealth Koori Health Research and Community Development Unit, Aug 2004. http://www.medicaldeans.org.au/publications.html (accessed Apr 2007).
  • 20. Richardson S. Aoteaoroa/New Zealand nursing: from eugenics to cultural safety . . . Nurs Inq 2004; 11: 35-42.
  • 21. Health Services Research Centre/Te Hikuwai Rangahau Hauora. Assuring medical practitioners’ cultural competence: a discussion document produced for the Medical Council of New Zealand. Wellington: Victoria University, 2005.
  • 22. Curtis P, Reath J. Review of cultural training for GPs working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. Melbourne: National Rural Faculty, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Jun 2004. http://www.racgp.org.au/aboriginalhealthunit/previousprojects (accessed Sept 2005).
  • 23. McDonald H. Factors which inhibit successful Indigenous participation in health service delivery in northern Australia. National SARRAH Conference; 2004 Aug 26-28; Alice Springs, NT. http://www.sarrah.org.au/sarrah/Papers/McDonald.pdf (accessed Aug 2005).
  • 24. Medical Training Review Panel, Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. Overseas trained doctors subcommittee report: report submitted to the Medical Training Review Panel, Feb 2004. Canberra: MTRP, 2004.
  • 25. Confederation of Postgraduate Medical Education Councils. Information and resources relating to education and training available to overseas trained doctors in Australia. A national scoping study. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, 2004.
  • 26. Han GS, Humphreys JS. Overseas-trained doctors in Australia: community integration and their intention to stay in a rural community. Aust J Rural Health 2005; 13: 236-241.
  • 27. Thomas H. Sick to death. Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2007.


remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article