Absence of coherence in the way Australia employs overseas-trained doctors is a problem for our healthcare system and for the doctors themselves
In the 1880s, the head of the statistics unit of the Registrar-General’s office in London noted that the shortage of medical practitioners in England was such that there was “imminent danger” that qualified medical care might become “quite inaccessible to vast numbers of people”.1 This shortage was a direct outcome of the Medical Act of 1853, which prescribed strict criteria for the education and registration of medical practitioners. Its effect was to reduce recruitment into the profession because of more formidable courses while concomitantly phasing out unqualified practitioners.1 Now, at the beginning of a new century, we find that the predicament of Victorian England has become a global problem. There is a shortage of doctors worldwide, and Australia is no exception.2-4
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