Before we had decided to move to Australia, I had spoken to my mom about the possibility of moving to Australia one day (was testing the waters). She, in her stubborn way, said absolutely not since the health care system in Australia was backward and not advanced at all. (My mom is very opinionated and isn’t afraid to tell you what she thinks of you). The way she described Australia’s health care system (although she’s never visited and wouldn’t be able to pick it out on an atlas) was as if she was describing some type of third world country. Once I told MJ about her thoughts on Australia’s medical system, he was infuriated so as a joke I would say that the doctors in Australia would rub sticks together over you and say “ooga booga” whenever you had a health problem.
You know what?
My mom may have been right (ssh, don’t tell her that – I will deny everything).
There is an extreme general practitioner (GP) shortage in the area, especially in Tasmania and Victoria. If you’re lucky enough to find a GP that is accepting new patients you can expect 1 of (or sometimes both of these) two things:
- LONG WAITING TIMES
- ANTIQUATED MEDICAL EQUIPMENT & SERVICE
We saw a few different doctors recently on my quest to find the perfect doctor that will put up with my hypochondriac family. And I have a long list of issues as to why I don’t like them but I will give you a sampling of my thoughts:
- I cannot trust a doctor who has bad teeth – I know that sounds weird but seriously you’re supposed to take medical advice from someone who doesn’t take care of himself??
- I refuse to wait 2 hours to be seen by a doctor when I’m in pain especially if I’m paying you
- I refuse to see a doctor that spends only 30 seconds looking at you and most of the time looking at a computer
- I refuse to take medicine you prescribed for me when you haven’t done a thorough checkup (see above) – MJ is a diabetic and he’s been taking pills for it back home so obviously he needs a doctor here to follow up with him to make sure he’s ok. Well we saw a doctor who spent most of the time looking at the computer screen rather than looking at him and then prescribed some pills for him to take without requesting blood work to see how his sugar levels are before the pills.
- I would prefer to see a doctor that has up-to-date medical equipment rather than from the 40’s – Oh, man, I cannot begin to describe these ancient machines I saw in some offices!
- I would prefer to see a doctor that has a separate office for consultations and a separate examination room – I am not used to see a doctor who has a desk and an examination table in the same room…so many unnecessary germs still lingering about.
- I need a doctor that washes his hands and changes the examination table linen in between patients.
- I have others but I’ll stop there.
If you meet these criteria, please come to Australia and set up a family doctor office ASAP. You will have at least 3 patients waiting for you very eagerly!
On a positive note, health care costs are relatively low here. And I had to have an ultrasound done a couple of weeks ago at a local imaging place here and they were excellent. They had great machines and great service. It took a total of about 40 minutes to register, get the scan, and get a copy of the scans!