Placing cell stands on picket stumps and spotting disgruntled NHS workers on social media are just two brutal ways Australia has used its personal healthcare workforce to lure Brits Down Under.
The ‘unconscionable raid’ has been criticized by some as ethically dubious given the stress the NHS faces and the impact on affected staff.
Speaking on Australian National Radio last week, South Australian Health Minister Chris Pickton mentioned: “We’re not just responding to tweets, we’re also responding to a number of trucks with electronic billboards set up overnight outside their protests and picket lines outside hospitals.
“A few weeks ago some of our junior doctors who work for SA Health came to see me.
“(They) absolutely love working here and want more people from the UK to come here and advised us to up our game on this more cruel tactic.”
A South Australian government advertising campaign visited the British Medical Association’s picket lines at St George’s Hospital in London last week
He has also defended the tactic, saying: “If the British government wants to, you know, emulate what we’re doing, they can do it.
“But at the moment it seems that the British government is completely reticent about its medical staff and refuses to even meet with them.”
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Earlier this month, London’s St. Mobile billboards with evocative images of crystal clear waters and scenic walks were put up outside George Hospital during the junior doctors’ strike.
“Bring your health career to South Australia and experience work-life balance at its best. We can help cover the cost of moving,” the ad said.
The adverts were seen by dozens of British Medical Association (BMA) doctors who were picketing in the latest strike over NHS pay.
It featured 50/50 images of medics enjoying the Australian lifestyle and working in a hospital with the captions ‘On the Job’. About lifestyle’.
A hyperlink and QR code on the billboard directs medics to the South Australian Government recruitment website where they will enter their details to apply.
The ads featured 50/50 images of medics balancing work with beautiful Australian lifestyle images learning to “discover work-life balance at its best” and providing financial assistance to relocate.
South Australian authorities, which are handing out lump sums of up to £8,000 to help medics relocate, can also target anyone complaining about their job in the NHS or the cost of housing in the UK on Twitter.
They then respond with a glossy video ad featuring starry skies, browsing and wine tasting interspersed with images of medics working in a hospital.
A tweet from Yorkshire psychiatry intern Cam Ypr reveals: “Junior doctor storms round 3. Strong public support in Sheffield and the sun is shining.”
SA Health, South Australia’s equivalent of the NHS, responded: “Consider your medical career in South Australia and discover the best work-life balance. We can help cover moving costs of up to AUD 15,000 (£8,000) to make your move a reality.
This response was accompanied by their recruitment video and a link to apply, and invited medics to contact SA Health’s “talent acquisition” staff.
South Yorkshire surgeon Harpre Kaur was also targeted by SA Health after posting: “I am passionate about surgery but every #JuniorDoctorsStrike reminds me how much we need change & #PayRestoration”.
Ms Kaur even responded to SA Health’s ad: “Thank you. Will take it into account.
In fact, some of the tweets targeting Aussies were quite old.
MailOnline revealed that SA Health published its recruitment videos in some June 2022 posts in an attempt to persuade medics to come to Adelaide.
The South Australian is also running a targeted social media campaign targeting UK medics who complain about being paid online, posting this glossy ad featuring images of both surfing and work, along with an offer of up to £8,000 to help with relocation costs.
SA Health’s social media trawl picked up a tweet from Cam Ypr, a psychiatry trainee in Yorkshire.
Even tweets written by medics last June caught the Aussie crossover, such as this example from a medic with the username “Noodles.”
Last year, a medic tweeted under the name “Noodles”: “If you’re wondering why doctors are considering a strike: I’ve been working full time for two years.
‘My salary this month is £1,700. I have a job where I am responsible for your life. You don’t want me to worry about how I’m going to pay for my gas if you’re septic at four in the morning.
To which SA Health responded by encouraging them to be used to hook them up.
Shockingly, each ad campaign wasn’t an entirely Australian scheme, but was requested by British medics who had already moved Down Under.