Gill Stannard

Friday, September 28, 2007

Overseas trained doctors

There is a good article in today's The Age by Andrew Schwartz, president of Australian Doctors Trained Overseas Association. He highlights the long standing, absurd stance this country (lead by the AMA) holds regarding overseas trained doctors.

It is time to stop differentiating between permanent-resident trained-overseas doctors (who wish to make Australia home) and temporary-resident overseas-trained doctors. As a rule, permanent residents are subjected to a much stricter assessment process than temporary residents. The obvious question is why.

I've never been able to understand why a doctor who is considered to have inferior training to the Australian standards is deemed competent enough to work in this country for up to 2 years but considered too dangerous to be registered as a doctor here and work permanently. This stop gap discrepancy may explain the fiasco in Queensland resulting in a number of deaths in Bundaburg and other problems in rural areas.

Partially the problem is a standards issue but to some degree it protectionism created by the AMA. I have met many excellend doctors who have moved to Australia in the past 20 years who have ended up in research due to this policy, letting their valuable clinical skills go to waste.

With an aging population and a doctors shortage, this problem is only going to get worse.

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