The global workforce shortages and the migration of medical professions: the Australian policy response

Aust New Zealand Health Policy. 2008 May 29;5:7. doi: 10.1186/1743-8462-5-7.

Abstract

Medical migration sees the providers of medical services (in particular medical practitioners) moving from one region or country to another. This creates problems for the provision of public health and medical services and poses challenges for laws in the nation state and for laws in the global community.There exists a global shortage of healthcare professionals. Nation states and health rights movements have been both responsible for, and responsive to, this global community shortage through a variety of health policy, regulation and legislation which directly affects the migration of medical providers. The microcosm responses adopted by individual nation states, such as Australia, to this workforce shortage further impact on the global workforce shortage through active recruitment of overseas-trained healthcare professionals. "Push" and "pull" factors exist which encourage medical migration of healthcare professionals. A nation state's approach to health policy, regulation and legislation dramatically helps to create these "push factors" and "pull factors". A co-ordinated global response is required with individual nation states being cognisant of the impact of their health policy, regulations and legislation on the global community through the medical migration of healthcare professionals.