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AUEN

I " STAY A FIXED TIME " j Mr. Baker's Views

The Government's plan to appoint refngee doctors to outback areas-was endorsed in principle toy Mr. Frank Baker. M. P. ('Maranoa), tout sucb doc tors should .be required to give an undertaking that they -would remain in their' country centre? a definite period, he said.

The Government had set up a spec iul medical committee to examine the qualifications o£ 80 refugee doc tors, and if they passed the test they would be sent to small country cen tres, Mr. Baker stated.

Large " numbers of Australian doc tors were serving in the fighting forces, and many more -were about to go, he pointed out. This was essen tial, as it was unthinkable that our fighting men should not have all the skilled medical attention they re quired. It also ?was extremely un desirable that the community at home should lack adequate medical ser vices; but there were insufficient doc tors of Australian registration to go

around.

LURE OF THE CITIES

The obvious remedy wa3 the licens ing of refugee doctors, many of whom were highly skilled men, to serve in such areas' as were lacking adequate medical service, Mr. Baker said. Some alien doctors had obtained per mission in the last year or two to practice at various places in Austra lia, and the majority had gone to country districts. The big cities,-with their bigger opportunities and higher fees, remained a constant temptation to them, however, and some of these doctors had forsaken their country practices. They had remained only sufficiently long to "get into the run ning" and then bad lost no time in seeking the bright lights of the big

cities.

.The Government had to guard against two things, Mr. Baker stated. One was thai these" alien doctors "did

ligt congregate in the big centres of Xfopulatlon; 'the other, that provision hie made for the protection of the in terests of those Australian doctors who had left goojd practices to serve tlieir country. The. standing of all alien doctors would have to be re viewed in the light of post-war con ditions. Personally, he would be in .-clined to adopt a rather sympathetic altitude towards such of them as had shown their thankfulness for the re fuge Australia had .afforded by re maining in the outback centres to attend to the meidical needs of those areas. He would not be so sympa thetic to those who had capitalised on the absence in the lighting forces of Australian doctors to ''make hay" in the big cities.

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