. Australia lies 33rd in a list of 121 countries of the world, in the global calculation of the doctor to population ratio. In Australia this ratio is 1 doctor per approximately 400 patients. This means that in their ranking order they are just below the United States, which has about 1 doctor to 390 patients, on a par with the Kyrgyz Republic (one of the 6 Turkic states), and Poland also at 400, and slightly above New Zealand at 420. Great Britain is just below that at 440.
Mongolias ratio of about 380 is better than that of Australia, as well as many of the European countries. It is also better than all the countries of the two American continents, apart from Uruguay and Argentina.
Most of the sub Saharan African countries lie between 2,500 and 50,000 patients per doctor, except South Africa, which has about a 1,300 ratio of patients per doctor.
Surprisingly enough, the country that heads the list and has the best doctor to patient ratio is Cuba, at about 1 doctor per 170 patients. Apart from Belgium, Greece, Italy, Iceland, Switzerland, Portugal, France, Germany, South Korea and Spain, the top 21 spots are all taken by the former Communist Bloc countries. That is, 11 of the top best doctor to patient ratios.
What does this mean for Australian hospitals and practices? In spite of the relatively poor showing in the ratios, the medical amenities are unquestionably first world, with cutting edge medical technology and research facilities. But for the doctors themselves it means long, long hours of hard work to keep up.
On top of this, the size and nature of the country of Australia sometimes makes it necessary for patients to travel long distances to see a doctor, and in some cases the doctors have to travel too. This means that the medical care system, of necessity, is thinly spread. Not every area has large groups of doctors who can cover for one another when one is sick or on leave.
This is why a service that selects, scrutinizes, and makes available locum doctors to relieve the overworked and overtired doctors of Australia is vital to the medical well being of the country. Some of these doctors are newly qualified, looking to gain experience. There may be some who took a year or two off to study further or specialize, and now want to get back into the job market. Others are prepared to come temporarily out of retirement, or perhaps some are mothers who took a sabbatical to get their small children off to a good start, and now wish to return to work.
Still others are new immigrants from other countries, where salaries and conditions are not up to the standards of those in Australia. In other words, they wish to better themselves and their families with a new job, a new life and a new country.
Whatever their reasons for seeking locum work, or new positions, in Australia they should be welcome additions to the active medical profession.