the trump factor? thoughts on recent USA medical migration to australia.

So I spotted something on twitter the other day. It was footage of refugees crossing over a land border on foot. They were welcomed by authorities and directed to tent camps set up to provide shelter.

The refugees were walking into Canada from the USA.   Incredible.

Anyway. It got me thinking whether Australia will soon see an increase in senior medical practitioners migrating here from the USA for political reasons.

Personally speaking, I have seen a slight upturn in interest from US based physicians. Whilst the upturn has not been overly significant just yet, most of the reasons for migration now are dominated by the “political situation”. Its almost like the doctors I speak to are too embarrassed to say his name.

Before, US physicians were predominantly interested in Australia for lifestyle reasons. They get paid more in the USA, so coming here was never about the money. Australia was where they came with a young family to experience a different country or to finish off their careers before returning back to the US of A to enjoy retirement.

Now, the Trump factor or “political situation” is indeed significant. As a proud, educated, liberal, gay, jewish Koala I am not in the least bit surprised!

It did get me thinking about stats about USA doctors in Australia. I remembered I possessed within easy reach of my sweaty, clammy, eager palms the top secret ASIO/CIA redacted report referred to in a previous post.

Well Possums, lets dive back into the murky and dangerous world of medical workforce statistics to see where the Yanks pop up!

Out of all the colleges data for calendar year 2016 re International Medical Graduate country of qualification, the USA had 19 who had completed Primary training there and 25 who had completed specialist training. This was less then in 2015 where it was 28 and 28. I wonder why it dropped?

Compare this to UK in 2016 which was 261 for Primary and 412 for Specialist qualification. Canada was 11 and 13. South Africa was 60 and 61.

Everywhere aside from Emergency Medicine, in 2016 the USA had small comparative stats to other countries where IMG got their Specialist Qualifications. In Emergency Medicine the USA was heavily represented with 7 out of 23, second to UK who had 10 out of 23.

Given the drop in numbers of Consultant/Specialists from the USA in 2016 from 2015, I wonder if my anecdotal evidence since the Trumpster came to power will actually be illustrated in hard data when 2017 is reported in early 2018. I’d be surprised if these numbers weren’t increased. Still, stranger things have happened – like a spray tanned reality TV star son of white supremacists becoming US president, for example. Perhaps the sheer quantity of student debt and subsequent pressures to pay it off with the quality of remuneration in the USA prevents more global mobility.

Any ideas?


Picture credit

frank mckenna


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