Desperately Seeking DoctorsSeries | 2008 | SBS, BBC
Australia has a chronic shortage of doctors and nowhere is this more evident than in the bush. Country towns right across the country are so desperate for a GP they’ve recruited doctors from lands as far away as India, South Africa and the UK.
Overseas trained doctors have now become commonplace throughout the land – but how do these foreign doctors cope once they’ve arrived in the middle of nowhere? And, just as importantly, how do the locals in the middle of nowhere cope with them?
Australia’s medical schools are also trying to deal with the bush doctor shortage by sending their final year students out for a term in a rural town. The hope is they gain an understanding of and appreciation for life as a bush doctor – but with most of our medical students being dyed in the wool city slickers many find their experience to be an eye opener – to say the least.
How would a 22-year-old Muslim girl called Nabilah Islam who’s never lived away from her parents’ city home (nor travelled anywhere without them) cope in a small, one doctor, WA wheat belt town where for the first time in her life she had to look after herself?
What would her reaction be if her mentor doctor, an old school ‘fire and brimstone’ type GP originally from India, tells her she’s failing for the first time in her otherwise impeccable studies? Does Nabilah run away from the isolation and pressure – or does she find the courage stand up to this mentor doctor she’s so afraid of?
And what will happen to that very same Indian born GP, Dr Alan Majid, if he resigned from his 3-year country contract only 4 months into completing it? Why is he the 4th doctor to quit the town in as many years? Could Dr Majid and the town possibly find some way to reconcile?
And what on earth would make a middle aged Scottish mum, Dr Mary Fortune, leave her home, her husband, her son and her job to work in the Australian outback? How does she deal with the loneliness and isolation of working as a locum in a town where the GP she was assigned to help, Dr Simon Wamono from South Africa, disappear only a week after she arrives? Why did Dr Wamono take off? And will he ever return?
And what does Dr Fortune make of work in a Gold mining town filled with the astonishing wealth and incredible characters of a resources boom? Why does a place with so much money need to recruit her services from 15,000km away?
All this will be revealed in the most thought provoking, moving, entertaining and enlightening doco series in years, Desperately Seeking Doctors. Whatever you do, stay healthy. It’s worth the watch.