Jun 222011


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Applications for Trainee Medical Officer (TMO, RMO, PGY2 and above) positions in South Australian public hospitals are now being accepted. (started 21 May 2011)

You can apply for a position, find out about important dates, documents required and the allocation process in the TMO section of this website in the top menu bar. Applications close on July 29, 2011.

Link for the application: https://tmoapp.saimet.org.au/login.php



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May 072011

I would like to take this opportunity to share some light into the problems that International Medical Graduates sometimes face in Australia. IMG’s sacrifice a lot to leave their home countries and relocate to a foreign land. They provide essential healthcare to a lot of underserved areas in Australia. Although Dr Sofocado and his family have now been granted permanent residency, he is still crusading for changes to Australian migration laws to give the chance to a lot of doctors who have wholeheartedly served otherwise underserved areas of Australia.

I am including the email of Dr Cesar Sofocado to the current ADTOA chair, Dr Viney Joshi to illustrate his plight (With explicit permission from Dr Sofocado) and to get support for his crusade.

From: Cesar Sofocado <docjun01@yahoo.com>
To: adtoa@adtoa.org
Sent: Mon, 25 April, 2011 11:28:40 PM
Subject: May I ask for a Letter of Support or Any Assistance to my Family’s Request to the Hon Immigration Minister Chris Bowen for Humanitarian Consideration and Compassion for my Terminally ill Wife?

May I ask for a Letter of Support or Any Assistance to my Family’s Request to the Hon Immigration Minister Chris Bowen for
Humanitarian Consideration and Compassion for my Terminally ill Wife?


Re: Compassion to the family of Dr. Cesar Sofocado, whose wife Mary is terminally ill with secondary breast cancer (advanced)
Approval of the family’s permanent residency visa application based
On Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds



Divorce sick wife, doctor told



ADTOA President



Dear Dr Viney Joshi,


Good morning Dr Viney Joshi!


First, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my family’s experience, especially of my wife, concerning BREAST CANCER which spread to her BRAIN and Lungs! We know that you are very busy and we really appreciate for giving a little of your precious time and attention to our humble request. I am an Overseas Trained Doctor ( Philippines ) – GP, working and providing medical services to the rural and remote areas of Western Australia , for almost six years now.


May I ask your help for a Letter of Support or Any Assistance to my Family’s request to the Hon Immigration Minister Chris Bowen for Humanitarian Consideration and Compassion for my terminally ill wife?


In 2005, my family arrived in Perth on Temporary Visa (Subclass 422, Medical Doctor) upon satisfying all conditions including health requirements. I served as Hospital Medical Officer in regional towns of Geraldton ( Geraldton Regional Hospital , WA ), and as a General Practitioner at Karratha (Karratha Medical Centre), Dampier (Dampier Medical Centre), and Dalyellup-Bunbury (Wishing Well Medical Clinic). Currently, I’m a GP here in Ellenbrook Medical Centre.


When my wife Mary was still healthy, she studied in TAFE-WA Central West Geraldton and TAFE-WA Pilbara. She worked in Early Learning Centre and Crèche, caring for babies and children.


In 2008, we applied for Independent Skilled Migrant Visa (Subclass 175) hoping to acquire permanent residency. Unfortunately, while in waiting for almost two years from DIAC’s (Dept of Immigration And Citizenship) response, Mary got suddenly ill and unexpectedly developed breast cancer which spread to her brain. She had undergone three major operations due to a malignant breast cancer and a brain tumour here in WA. She was also further diagnosed with lung cancer (which actually “missed” by her specialist) and was advised to undergo another Lung operation and radiation and chemotherapy.


As my wife’s health deteriorates her dream of our family’s residing permanently in Australia becomes blurred and dim. Although DIAC has full knowledge of Mary’s condition we were still advice to apply for W.A State Sponsorship Skilled Sponsored (Migrant) Visa (Subclass176). This application was later supported by Hon. Judi Moylan, MP and Hon. Frank Alban, MLA.


My family, especially my dying wife is not asking much from the Australian government. We just want a little recognition of my family’s contribution (thru me and my wife’s work and active participation in the church and community) to the rural & remote areas of WA, and humanitarian consideration and compassion to my terminally ill wife (41 y/o). It’s not my wife’s fault to have this advanced breast cancer! Nobody wants to have cancer! But this was the reason the DIAC is keep on pounding on my family’s minds (my wife, my two young daughters, and me)! And the Immigration Case Officer is using this Breast Cancer of my wife to reject our permanent residency visa, as a “gift” for our almost 6 years of service here in WA.


Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, said in one of her speeches: “Every one of us is connected by it and to it in some way (breast cancer). Unlike you, I have not suffered frombreast cancer, but I have observed again and again its force and its devastation, something of what it means to be a woman – her family, our community”. Her Excellency emphasized that: “Women living with breast cancer are the inspiration! They fight their individual battlesquietlypatiently, but with the utmost determination and courage and the support of their families and friends. May their voices continue to be heard!”
As you can see Dr Viney Joshi, our case is unique in the sense that there is some form of “urgency” on the basis of my wife’s terminal illness. Unlike other visa applications refused due to medical conditions, wherein the applicants had the luxury of time and resources to wait the long process of appealing to the Migration Review Tribunal, because of Mary’s terminal cancer, we don’t have that time and much resource.
Another issue that I want the well-respected Dr Viney Joshi to be aware of, were the mistakes (which the immigration called as “miscommunications”) made by the Case Officers handling our application. I’m looking on another angle wherein the Immigration Case Officer 1 ( Ala– ) made a mistake of giving me an option of Visa 176 State Sponsorship. Because I trusted the Case Officer 1 ( Ala– ) of the Dept of Immigration and Citizenship and I believed that she’s ( Ala– ) an expert on her field, I followed her advice and applied for the Visa 176. I was granted the Western Australia State Sponsorship, and we’re told to proceed with our medical requirements by the new Case Officer 2 (And–). I am not aware that the Visa 176 advised to me by the Case Officer 1 ( Ala– ) has “no health waiver”, meaning we cannot appeal. I am not an expert in Immigration law. Case Officers of the Immigration of Australia are highly regarded as an expert with immigration rules and, they have the “power” to accept or reject the applicants. From the very beginning, our Case Officer 1 ( Ala– ) was aware of my wife’s medical condition. And now we’ve done everything, the new Case Officer (And–) handling our applications told me already that he’s (And–) going to reject our permanent residency visa application because of my wife’s medical condition and we cannot appeal for that because the Visa 176 we applied has “no health waiver!” Accordingly, the Case Officer 2 (DIAC) will approve only our Permanent Residency visa if my wife is already DEAD! Or if we are DIVORCED! Or if we are LEGALLY SEPARATED!


In my humble opinion, the Case Officer 1 ( Ala– ) gave us a “wrong information” and “misled” me and my family to apply for VISA 176 with no health waiver. This “miscommunication” (as called by the Immigration) will result to the rejection of our application according to Case Officer 2 (And–), with NO chance to appeal! This “miscommunications” made by DIAC’s own Case Officer “buried my family’s future” deeper into the ground. We are already down and injured because of the impact of Stage 4 advanced breast cancer to my wife and family! And this rejection will be no less than a Death sentence to my terminally ill wife, and my family! We feel that our already devastated family, especially my beloved wife, and after our share of work and contribution to the “Areas of Need” of Western Australia , is being treated unjustly and unfairly!


Our beloved Dr Viney Joshi my wife, my two young daughters and me, are down on our knees, begging and humbly pleading for your support and assistance in regards to our appeal with the Immigration Minister. Please, do help us! Thank you so much.
Yours respectfully,
SOFOCADO FAMILY (Dr Cesar, Mary, Sofia, Kyla)
Home Address: 18 Heathland Terrace,
Ellenbrook WA 6069
H: 08 92973914
M: 0439516038


Our heartfelt thanks to the supports and pledges of the following:


“Dr Sofocado has provided so much to our society over the last few years- I believe it is only fair and just that he and his family are supported through this incredibly difficult time. They should not have to spend what little time may be remaining on fighting! Please let them live this time together, in peace.”

Daniella  Princi
BA (Hons) Psychology, MAPS


“Mary (Stella) has shown to be an exceptionally talented child care assistant who always strives for best practice. Mary (Stella) is a very approachable, friendly and creative person and she has a genuine interest in the care and education of young children”

Kirsty Monaghan
Supervising Officer
Pilbara TAFE Creche


“Due to the fact that his wife is terminally ill with breast and brain cancer, I would urge to consider Dr Sofocado’s plea for a permanent visa on compassionate grounds. I believe we owe this much to Dr Sofocado as the community of Western Australia had benefited from his medical services.”

Dr Alan Eggleston
Senator for Western Australia


“On both compassionate and practical grounds, I believe the Doctor and his family demonstrate a solid case for support and would ask that you carefully review the full merits of this case before you.”

Maria Vamvakinou MP
Federal Member for Calwell


“On compassionate grounds it would be clearly create a greater upheaval and cause further trauma to this family under the circumstance to have to leave the country with their two young children, From a practical point of view it would be tragic loss of a doctor who is now established in an area of increasing need.”
Judi Moylan MP
Member for Pearce


“Dr Sofocado and his wife have contributed actively to their communities. I believe that this family would be model citizens.”

Frank Alban MLA
Member for Swan Hills


“I am seeking compassionate consideration to grant the permanent visa application of Dr Cesar for the welfare of the whole family and especially for their two daughters. These children have grown with an Australian identity having experienced the Australian way of life in their early childhood years.”

Most Rev. Justin Bianchini, DD: Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Geraldton
Fr Maurizio Pettena CS: National Director, Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office, Australian Catholic Bishop Conference
Fr Gerard Totanes: St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Geraldton
Fr Steven Casey: Parish Priest, Karratha/ Dampier WA


“I ask for your fresh consideration on the matter as a point of urgency in the light of humanitarian and compassionate grounds with what the family has been and continue to go through, but also from the point of view of what this family can continue to add to our communities if allowed to stay.”

Graham R Fabian
Senior Minister
Sun City Christian Centre Geraldton

“It would be a shame if Mary’s illness results in their application being rejected as it would be very traumatic for the family to leave the country. It would also result in the unnecessary loss of a medical doctor who has been serving the Australian community for over five years, at a time when there is still a shortage of medical practitioners.”

Ramdas Sankaran: Executive Director, Multicultural Services Centre of Western Australia Inc


“Urgently, we are concerned on how to alleviate the plight of the Sofocado family by supporting the visa application already filed at DIAC. Dear Minister, we appeal to your compassion for the family while Mary is still alive. No one can prolong her precious life but your favourable action will surely make her last days less painful. Your act of compassion will be a lasting legacy not only to her two daughters but to all Filipino-Australian families and supporters.”

George Kotsakis: Chairperson, Migrante-Australia
Marino Salinas : President, Filipino Australian Club of Perth
Dante C. Maribbay,CD: President, Damayang Filipino Inc.
Noel Chicote: President, Filipino Australian Sports Association



“To deny the family of permanent residency will be very inhumane as they have served in the caring and wellbeing of fellow Australians and formed strong roots in Australia . It will be devastating enough for the girls to lose their mum at such an early and impressionable age and then to be told that they have to leave the country where they had dreams of building their future.”

Dr Amarjit Singh & Family


Cesar & Mary has done Australia a very special service and I believe that we should be very grateful for that. Please let Mary spend her remaining days in Australia (which the Sofocado family considered as home) peacefully surrounded by her precious family and her loving friends!

Emily McKeating


“They’ve spent almost 6 years of their lives here in Australia and no doubt that they’ve embraced the system whole heartedly. The family had started a new home and look forward for a brighter future. We believed that they need a chance to be heard and be helped in whatever deemed possible for humanitarian reason as Mary’s agony should be appeased and serenity should foster for greater good.”

Dr Garry Fajardo & Family




Religious groups/organizations, private and community organizations, Individual patients/families and friends, in WA and other Australian states



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Mar 012011

Consultant Paediatrician: Bendigo

The Bendigo Heath Care Group invites expressions of interest in the gradual replacement of the four currently employed paediatric consultants who intend to resign over the next few years.

The applicants will require skills in the full range of general paediatrics including neonates to level 2A, inpatient services for children and adolescents and community consulting. Any special interests will be welcome.

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Feb 112011

General Positions

Staff Specialist (General Medicine) (Sub specialty interest in Respiratory, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology or Neurology), Ipswich Hospital

General Medicine, Darling Downs-West Moreton Health Service District
Remuneration value up to $347,616 p.a. comprising salary between $141,819 – $164,728 p.a., employer contribution to superannuation (up to 12.75%), annual leave loading (17.5%), private use of fully maintained vehicle, communications package, professional development allowance, professional development leave 3.6 weeks p.a., professional indemnity cover, private practice arrangements plus overtime and on-call allowances (L18-L24) (Applications will remain current for 12 months)
JAR: H11WM01686.

Duties/Abilities: As the single point of accountability for the medical services of the South Burnett, the primary functions of the position are to provide leadership to the clinical services. Promote and coordinate relevant educational and research activities in collaboration with relevant universities and other stakeholders. Provide clinical leadership to ensure that clinical services are appropriate, effective, efficient, safe and in keeping with contemporary standards. Manage resources to achieve required outcomes.

Enquiries: Dr Gerry Costello (07) 3810 1333.
Application Kit: (07) 3136 5616 or (07) 3136 5601 or www.health.qld.gov.au/workforus If you are not a Queensland Health employee, a criminal history check may be conducted on the recommended person for the job.

Applications close: Monday, 14 March 2011

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Jan 112011

Deadline for applications is 29 January 2011:


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Dec 232010


Emergency Medicine PHO’s and advanced trainees welcome.

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Dec 152010
*This is the second of a series of reviews that I will be doing as I locum through different hospitals in Australia. I tried to do a simple search online to find locum doctor experiences with different hospitals, and so far, I haven’t found much. I hope this helps other doctors who are thinking of locuming to different hospitals.

Calvary Hospital

Bruce, ACT

From the Calvary Hospital ED orientation handbook:

“Calvary Hospital is is situated in the northern suburbs of Canberra. It is one of two public hospitals in the ACT. Calvary Hospital also has a private hospital co-located with the public hospital. Calvary Hospital is the closest hospital to the centre of the city, 2 universities and several high school and colleges. It is also the closest hospital to the population growth centre in Canberra, Gungahlin (see attached map). This has resulted in a steady growth of presentations to the department between 3-4% per annum.”

1. Workload / Casemix:

Pros – Twenty percent of patients are children. Both adult and pediatric presentations are mostly medical (e.g. – cardiac,  infectious) Major trauma patients are brought directly to the referral center which is TCH – The Canberra Hospital. The emergency department is split into  Acute and Subacute areas. Category 1 and 2 patients in Acute, Cat 3, 4, and 5 in subacute. There were 3 doctors assigned to the acute area, 4 in subacute. As a locum doctor, you are usually placed into the subacute area, hence the work is relatively not as stressful. However, with any triage system, a patient may be mistakenly placed into a lower category but actually requires higher acute care. Not exactly a walk in the park, but compared to Tamworth Base Hospital, a much more relaxed atmosphere.

Cons – If you are looking for massive trauma, brains spilling out, doing chest drains left and right and the occasional open cardiac massage, Calvary ED is probably not appropriate for you. Since GP clinics are quite hard to get into (allegedly 2 week waiting period), a large bulk of patients are GP-type presentations (request for repeat scripts, man-flu, D&V’s, etc).

2. Consultant Support / Colleague Support

Pros – I did 2 early weekend shifts (0800 to 1700) during my shifts at Calvary Hospital. Consultants were on the floor most of the time during the day and were just a phone call away at night. The consultants were very approachable and happy to help out with any clinical problems. You will be working with doctors who are seconded from The Canberra Hospital and other Locums as well. Calvary hospital apparently has a chronic shortage of doctors for the ED. The junior doctors and registrar are happy to help and are very welcoming of your presence.

Cons – Nothing much. I’ll probably have to work a night shift to see how things change after dark…

3. Nursing Support

Pros – The nurses were generally nice and very helpful. The lesser acuity of the patients probably didn’t stress them out as much as other places. Most have cannulation / phlebotomy skills but since I was the new person, the nurses would opt to help out the training registrars there because they have to look after the juniors as well. Working in the subacute area, you would usually do most things by yourself like in any other fast-track area.

Cons – Not much.

4. Pathology and Radiology

Pros – All pathology tests that you would reasonably need in the ED are available. Xray, CT and USS are available by request during the day. You only need to call the radiographer. No begging needed! 2 hour-turn around time for results.

Cons – Requests are computerized and take a bit longer than just writing CXR on the form. There’s always a page long questionnaire for each patient. Could possibly take a bit of time for newbies like me. There’s also only 1 viewing computer for radiology images. Irritating to be waiting behind someone at times.

5. Housing and Transportation

Pros – Calvary Hospital will provide for airfare, taxi and hospital accomodation for the weary travelling locum doctor. The room I got had 2 beds, a fridge, a bathroom with towels. There was a common room with a kitchenette where people can cook or reheat food.

Cons – The room was a bit dated, the wiring ran outside the walls which indicated a bit of remodelling / renovation but under a tight budget. The kitchenette was a but unkempt – probably the locum people’s fault!

6. Pay

Pros – They pay 150 per hour for day shifts and 170 per hour for night shifts. You can opt to be paid through your ABN so you can charge tax and get full payment until tax time.

Cons – I would have liked at least a 3 day run of shifts to justify my plane trip, but I guess I was a bit of a last minute addition to the roster.

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Dec 072010

*This is the first of a series of reviews that I will be doing as I go locum through the different hospitals in Australia. I have tried to do a simple search online to find locum doctor experiences with different hospitals, so far, I haven’t found much. I hope this helps other doctors who are thinking of locuming to different hospitals.

Tamworth Base Hospital

From the www.hnehealth.nsw.gov.au website:

“Tamworth Hospital provides 265 beds with a 24 hour Emergency Department, high level Surgical and Medical services, including a Cardiac Catheterisation laboratory with both diagnostic and low risk interventional procedures, Burns Service, Rehabilitation services (including Brain Injury), a Diabetes Centre, Banksia Mental Health Unit, Renal services, Oncology, Radiology and Pathology.”

1. Workload / Casemix:

Pros – Good amount of pathology going through the doors from kids with bad asthma attacks to a man with complete laceration of all flexor tendons at the wrist with compromised blood flow to the right dominant hand. I don’t think I ever got bored through the night.

Cons – If you are looking for relaxing / easy locum shifts where you would be just treating small cuts and lacerations, this is not the hospital for you. I observed some of the medical staff getting a bit overworked / pressured with the number of patients and the acuity of the cases (myself included!)

2. Consultant Support

Pros -I did 3 nights (2200 to 0830)  during my shifts at Tamworth Base Hospital – consultants were just a phone call away if you need to call them. They were actually nice about being called even during the early hours when you need advice. I even had to call a consultant in at one point because I had 2 ongoing problematic patients. I think they are quite understanding of locum doctors.

Cons – None really, except  that I thought I was going to have a proper introduction to the department (staff and where things are kept) but sadly, nobody came eventhough I was 30 minutes early for my shift. It did say on the acceptance of employment letter that I would have a proper orientation to the place.

3. Nursing Support

Pros – The nurses were generally nice and very helpful. Although with any new encounter of health professionals, you do not know the exact capability of each other. I didn’t really mind when they asked me if I had airway skills and the like because I knew they just wanted to clarify what I am capable of doing.

Cons – I didn’t have a problem much with the nurses in the ED, but some of them can be quite bossy (as with any other place I’ve worked with before). As with the ward nurses that did a “Metcall” for NGT insertion, let me say that I am not fond of being a ward-call slave (I mean ward-call doctor).

4. Pathology and Radiology

Pros – All pathology tests that you would reasonably need in the ED are available. Xray and CT are on-call, and you don’t need to ask permission from the Radiologist before you can get a CT. However, if you need to get the official results of a CT, you better have a rock-solid explanation why you woke him or her up at 2 am!

Cons – Having to defend the need for an official reading of a CT in the wee hours of the morning – I thought getting run over by a car was a pretty good mechanism…

5. Housing and Transportation

Pros – Tamworth Hospital will provide for airfare, taxi and hospital accomodation for the weary travelling locum doctor. The room was spartan.

Cons – You are not allowed to share the room with your wife, so we opted to stay in a motel for the duration of my stay.

6. Pay

Pros – They pay 110 per hour for day shifts and 130 per hour for night shifts.

Cons – 3 weeks have passed and I still haven’t been paid!!! This is an ongoing issue with NSW health I was told. Makes me want to reconsider doing locum shifts in NSW again…

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Jul 092010

GP is a specialty in its own right. I have great respect for their hardwork and patience. Not everyone should and can be a GP.

As an international medical graduate, you have 2 options to work here if you would like to go thru the GP pathway:

1. Apply to an “area of need” GP practice – these are mostly in regional and rural areas of Australia. Don’t be afraid to apply to regional areas, parts of Gold Coast are classified as regional areas. There are 2 choices: you can apply to a GP Practice that caters to patients during the day, OR, you can apply to a GP practice that does housecalls – an example of such a service is Medcall. Google “Medcall Gold Coast” and you can get an idea of what they do. Area-of-Need applications are backdoor processes that let you into GP practice without having to go thru a hospital-based program first. You will need at least 5 years GP experience in your own country first before you are allowed to apply. You will need to have passed the AMC MCQ and IELTS before you can be registered to work in an area of need. Pay in the area of need is generally quite rewarding – my friends are in the 200K per year level – but when you work 6 days a week, and mostly afterhours, I’d rather have 100k per year and have a life. =)

2. Apply to a hospital and go thru the internship process and then house officer, then apply formally to the Royal Australasian College of General Practice. This may take several years to do (we did ours in 2.5 years just to give you an idea), but it exposes you to other specialties that you may want to consider or at least gives you an idea to which ones you will need to refer to when you eventually become a GP. You need to be fully registered (passed the AMC-MCQ and AMC clinicals, and have rotated in general medicine, emergency and surgery departments). Then, since you are not an Australian citizen and have not trained in Australia, the only pathway available to you is the Rural pathway of the RACGP. You become a GP registrar and go thru the hoops. Pay depends on where you are sent off as a GP.

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Mar 092010

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