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recruiting GPs australia
The hardest things about recruiting GPs

Clinics around Australia are desperate for staff but recruiting GPs is no easy business.

And if you hire the wrong doctor, you may end up in an even worse position.

Many Australian clinics try to solve their recruiting problems on their own.

But recruiting can be a long and time-consuming process.

And based on time lost, it can also be a very expensive one.

Here are some of the challenges health clinics face when recruiting GPs.

Balancing the books

Hiring a new GP has to make economic sense for both parties.

Doctors earn a lot of money and depending on whether you hire an employee or independent contractor, you may need to negotiate an attractive salary package and benefits.

There is a growing desire among doctors to want a greater degree of work/life balance.

That means you may also need to attract a suitable candidate by offering flexibility and an appealing work environment.

But any position filled also has to work for the clinic – the new doctor needs to see enough patients and meet the growing demand for appointments.

Some clinics consider hiring locums to fill short-term positions.

But this can quickly prove a very costly path to choose.

Devising a recruitment strategy

When you need a new doctor on staff, consider the needs of the practice, the community and the kind of attributes you are seeking from a new GP.

Consider your time horizon 

Are you seeking a short-term or long-term appointment?

You may just need to cover a doctor while they are absent on maternity or long service leave.

Or you may be seeking permanent employees to fill a gap in your staffing levels and meet growing demand in your area.

Local vs overseas doctor

The doctor shortage in Australia means local GPs can be more difficult to hire.

There are more overseas doctors wanting to move to Australia, but the process can be complex and time consuming.

However if you build a strategy that factors in the required process, you’ll be rewarded with doctors who are often:

  • Highly invested and up for a new challenge
  • Culturally sensitive and diverse
  • Highly qualified
  • Broadly experienced

Employee vs independent contractor?

Hiring a doctor as an employee or having them work with you as an independent contractor is a key decision for both your practice and the GP, as it has a big legal, remuneration and tax implications.

We covered this topic extensively here.

Sourcing qualified candidates

The high demand and short supply of GPs in Australia makes the recruitment process for a clinic undertaking the task themselves very challenging.

This holds doubly true for those in rural or remote areas where many local doctors will not make themselves available to work.

Clinics seeking doctors with niche qualifications will also find it difficult to find suitable candidates from the small pool available.

Crafting compelling job descriptions that attract desirable candidates is an art form in itself.

Knowing how to reach them quickly and effectively via websites, social media, mail drops and phone calls is also a skill set crafted from years of experience in the recruitment industry.

Sifting through the applicants

When recruiting GPs, sifting through the applications and reducing them to a shortlist is where the real time and money starts to add up.

Compliance procedures need to be observed to ensure doctors are not just suitably qualified but have the experience and communication skills to work successfully in Australia.

You may also want a GP that has proficiency with telehealth and e-health records.

Then there are the national regulator and visa requirements to satisfy.

When you have arrived at a shortlist, you will need to conduct video interviews with the final candidates before arriving at decision to offer a contract of employment.

Ensuring regulator requirements are satisfied

Overseas doctors are required to meet a number of regulatory requirements before they can begin working in Australia.

Satisfying them is one of the hardest things about recruiting GPs.

Many of these involve a significant amount of paperwork and time and can take up to 18 months for an overseas doctor to begin work when initially recruited by a clinic in Australia.

These requirements include: 

  • Credential verifications
  • Comparability assessments to determine appropriate pathway
  • Non-VR GPs to sit a PESCI (Pre-Employment Structured Clinical Interview) exam
  • Registering and being ID’d by AHPRA
  • Registering with Medicare

Ensuring immigration requirements are satisfied

Meeting immigration requirements is another tricky one to navigate when recruiting GPs.

It can only begin after AHPRA registration approval is obtained.

A visa nomination comes in two parts.

Firstly, a clinic must nominate a GP to work with them.

The GP can then accept that offer and forward their application.

For their part, the clinic must: 

  • provide details of their business
  • detail why they need the position filled
  • explain why they are having difficulties in finding local GPs to fill the role
  • show they are a suitable business to nominate the GP

The visa nomination and application can then be submitted and may be done concurrently.

Contact Health Recruitment Australia today

Recruiting GPs is a great way to maintain staffing levels at your clinic.

But it takes a significant amount of energy and time.

Time is money.

That’s why is is much wiser to outsource the recruiting task to a professional recruiting firm.

HRA is a dedicated recruitment agency that aligns doctors of all ages with hiring clinics in Australia.

We do the heavy lifting for you, vetting applicants from all over the world to find ones perfectly suited to your business.

HRA are experts in the caper and have numerous overseas GPs on our books wanting to work in Australia.

We will work closely with you to find a GP who solves your staffing crisis and adds value to your practice.

But be warned … if you think you might need a new doctor within the next 18 months, the time to begin this process is now because that is how long it can take!

Why not start with an informal, no-obligation discussion with the experienced team at Health Recruitment Australia? Contact us.

Enquire now, and we’ll be
in touch shortly!


Enquire now, and we’ll be
in touch shortly!