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  • Western Australia offers cash to overseas doctors, nurses

    Author: AAP

Western Australia's government has unveiled a plan to address hospital staff shortages, including covering relocation costs for international recruits.

Western Australia will offer international doctors and nurses $8000 relocation sweeteners in the latest bid to fix hospital staff shortages.

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Health Minister Roger Cook on Tuesday unveiled details of a recruitment plan to be funded in next month's state budget.

It includes efforts to lure hospital staff from interstate and overseas, as well as refresher courses for experienced nurses and midwives and plans to take on more student graduates.

International doctors, nurses and midwives who agree to relocate to WA will be paid $8000 to cover their flights, moving expenses and the cost of their hotel quarantine stay.


The state government has secured exemptions for them to be brought in above the cap on international arrivals.

More than 200 junior doctors from the United Kingdom and Ireland are set to arrive in WA to work in the health system in the next few weeks.

Mr Cook, who has come under pressure from health unions over staff shortages in the state's public hospitals, said the government was leaving no stone unturned.

"Before COVID-19, we employed many people from outside of WA but this regular supply of trained professionals was effectively cut off by the international border arrangements and the capacity of our quarantine hotels," Mr Cook told reporters.

"But we never stopped trying to recruit."

Mr Cook said he didn't expect overseas recruits to be put off by Australia's tough international border situation.

"We hope they come here for six months, 12 months, spend a good deal of time experiencing the great West Australian lifestyle and the opportunities that working in our great health system provides," he said.

"We're also trying to lure those (Australians) who are overseas at the moment and want to come back home."

The McGowan government has promised to open 332 new hospital beds as part of an additional $1.9 billion health investment in next month's state budget.

Health unions and the state opposition have disputed the government's claim that hospitals are under pressure because of issues related to the pandemic.

But Mr Cook insisted hospitals were seeing more acutely unwell patients, including a 10 per cent increase in triage one patients compared to three years earlier.

"A lot of people obviously put off going to see their doctor or their GP in 2020," he said.

"They now present to our EDs as much more acute cases and, as a result of that, that's putting significant pressure on our system."


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