The RACGP supports the reduction of administrative formalities for foreign doctors
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has reiterated its support for cutting red tape preventing more internationally qualified GPs from working in Australia.
This follows comments by NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard today calling on the federal government and the college to work together to remove barriers that had been ‘inadvertently’ placed on the way foreign doctors gain accreditation to work in Australia.
President RACGP Deputy. Professor Karen Price said the RACGP is 100% committed to easing the burden on international medical graduates.
“There has never been a more important time to cut the red tape that keeps international medical graduates from working in Australia,” she said.
“We urgently need more GPs in the field at the moment and the delay is not with the RACGP – we are just applying the standards that apply to international medical graduates. As our rural chairman, Dr Michael Clements, said this morning, we reject any claims that standards should be relaxed or lower expectations placed on the quality of doctors coming to work in Australia. However, we support doing more to help international medical graduates meet these standards.
“The RACGP is also once again urging the Federal Department of Health to streamline processes for international medical graduates, including measures such as speeding up the visa application process, so that we can get more doctors GPs working in communities where they are badly needed without delay.
“International medical graduates from around the world are an essential piece of the puzzle in solving GP workforce challenges. Throughout the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, border closures limited the number of doctors who could arrive in Australia, and that of course adds to a much longer-term problem that Health Minister Mark Butler accurately described as “terrifying” not having enough. future doctors opting for a career in general medicine.
“The RACGP has long advocated for measures to make it easier for international medical graduates to work in Australia. In late 2020, for example, we welcomed overseas-trained GPs whose visa applications were fast-tracked as part of Australia’s COVID-19 recovery efforts. It was an emergency measure and the government must go much further in a more sustainable and long-term strategy.
RACGP rural chair Dr Michael Clements said rural, regional and remote areas are crying out for more GPs.
“Communities outside major cities are disproportionately dependent on international medical graduates, so enabling more of them to work in Australia without unreasonable delay must be a priority,” he said.
“Many communities, especially in remote, rural and regional areas, are crying out for more GPs. A few weeks ago it was reported that a clinic in Brighton, a town north of Hobart, had closed, leaving thousands of people without access to a nearby GP. Meanwhile, in South Australia, the state government has announced an offer of up to $750,000 for an experienced GP to work in the Lameroo-Pinnaroo district.
“Ask many GPs and practice managers, especially outside the big cities, and they will tell you how difficult it can be to bring in a GP from abroad and set them up to start help patients. It can take up to two years and this tedious process leaves many practices desperately short of GPs with nowhere to go.
“Let’s ease bureaucratic headaches and provide more support for international medical graduates so that more communities can bring in GPs from abroad without delay. No patient should be left behind, everyone deserves access to high quality general medical care.
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