Climate change to drive a third of doctors out of the Northern Territory
New research published in The Lancet Planetary Health found 34 per cent of doctors have already or are likely to consider leaving the NT because of climate change.
The authors, from the Australian National University, say: “This would leave a large gap in the territory’s healthcare system, which already suffers from a fast turnover of staff. These doctors would leave behind communities already suffering from the effects of climate change.”
Twenty-five per cent of doctors working in the NT responded to the survey.
The study showed NT doctors believe climate change is a serious public health issue. A total of 85 per cent indicated climate change has already or is likely to negatively impact their patients’ health; 74 per cent believed climate change is already causing or is likely to cause parts of the NT to become uninhabitable. And for 34 per cent, climate change has already, or is likely to, make them consider leaving the NT.
The two summers of 2018–20 were the hottest ever recorded in the NT.
From December 2019 to January 2020, temperatures were about 4°C above the long-term average. In late 2019, it was so hot, remote kidney dialysis centres struggled to say cool enough for their life-saving dialysis machines.
Some of the hottest conditions in 2019 were in the Katherine region, which shattered previous records. In 2019 there were 54 days of 40°C or above in Katherine.