Plan to bring thousands of doctors and nurses overseas
The plan would see 2,000 overseas medical workers – mostly from the UK and Ireland – enter the country.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the federal government was working with states and territories to launch the “one-time push” for Australia’s healthcare system.
“It will be a one-time push to provide additional support. The Commonwealth is committed to this and the states are working constructively with us on this,” Hunt said.
Doctors and nurses who had previously applied to come to Australia could bypass travel restrictions to book flights and take jobs.
“These are all people who applied. We don’t have to find them, these are people who are already looking to come to Australia,” Mr Hunt said.
“These are people from all over the world. This free movement of people is very important. Some may join families, some may move for a new life. It is an ordinary part of life and it is up to individuals to be able to choose, subject to the needs of a nation. ”
Mr Hunt said the federal government’s proposal would not compromise the quality of health skills.
“Safety remains, as always, the number one priority,” he said.
The government plans to send health workers here over the next six months and deploy them to strengthen suburban and regional hospitals and general medicine clinics.
British and Irish healthcare workers are at the center of the plan as their qualifications are recognized here, allowing them to start work immediately.
The Australian College of Nursing and employers in health services have previously expressed concerns that the strict closure of international borders had isolated Australia from overseas medical workers during the pandemic.
Details of the plan have emerged as health systems in Victoria and New South Wales are under the impact of the Delta outbreak.
In the past two weeks, Ambulance Victoria had reported four of its five busiest days in its history.
Victoria’s Triple Zero calling system was also experiencing near record levels of demand.
As of next week, for the first time in Victoria Ambulance history, two paramedics will no longer be deployed in each ambulance.
Instead, a paramedic will be joined by a driver from the Australian Defense Force, St John Ambulance Australia, State Emergency Service or a student paramedic.