The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing is holding public hearings to discuss the registration processes and support available to overseas trained doctors seeking full registration in Australia.
The first of these meetings was held last Friday where the committee spoke with the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing and various medical associations.
The department discussed where and how the registration process takes place; the Medical Board of Australia told the committee what their process are, as did the Australian Medical Association, the Australian Doctors Trained Overseas Association, and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.
Committee chair, Steve Georganas MP, talking to Neos Kosmos said; “This inquiry is aiming to explore the registration process and support that’s available for these overseas trained doctors. This inquiry will also explore how we can remove impediments that exist and to promote pathways for these doctors to achieve full Australian qualifications without lowering any necessary standard that are required by colleges and regulatory bodies as we have exceptional standards in Australia.”
The need for overseas trained doctors stems from their contribution in rural and regional areas. “We know overseas trained doctors make up a significant part of Australia’s medical workforce, especially in Australia’s rural, regional areas and remote areas,” Mr Georganas said.
He said the Overseas Trained Doctors Association spoke freely about members they represent who are overseas doctors.
“In many cases, the members have worked in London for many years – in other words people who have worked in a system very similar to ours – are finding the process very incumbent and very frustrating. At the same time we have a need for these people to be out in the rural areas yet they can’t get registered or are finding the process extremely frustrating in terms of getting registration. We are hearing that story repeat itself constantly and that’s one of the reasons we are looking into this area.”
Mr Georganas expects this inquiry to go right to the end of the year, during which time the committee will speak to people concerned all over Australia, overseas doctors, hospitals and health centres who recruit doctors. The recommendations will then be tabled in parliament and presented to the minister to act on them.
“Our job is to come up with the best information and do the best research we can and then come up with recommendations that will make the system better,” he said.