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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
Overseas trained doctors continue to be a vital part of the Western Australian health system despite the recent decision by the Health Department to cease employing international medical graduates to junior doctor positions in local public hospitals, Australian Medical Association (WA) President Dr Michael Gannon said today.
Dr Gannon said he welcomed the announcement by Health Department Director General Professor Bryant Stokes that the investment in additional local medical students had begun to have a positive impact.
“There is no question that there is an inherent value to our community in having locally trained medical students who understand the health system they have trained in, and local cultural mores, including those issues unique to the health of Indigenous Australians,” Dr Gannon said.
“The fact that we are now educating enough doctors in our two medical schools demonstrates they are working as they should and are now supplying our local needs.”
But OTDs will always be necessary and will always be welcome, he added.
“This self-sufficiency should not diminish the enormous contribution made by those friends and colleagues who have trained overseas. The system must maintain a flexibility to enable it to be enriched by doctors from overseas. It also must maintain the flexibility to allow for acute workforce shortages to be dealt with and specialists to be added to the health system.
“OTDs have been important to our health system since 1829 and I cannot see that changing. They have provided and will continue to provide amazing medical skills and leadership,” Dr Gannon said.
“The AMA is making every effort to reach out to those doctors trained overseas working in isolated country towns. Historically, these jobs have not been attractive to Australian graduates. We should do everything we can to support those colleagues of ours – to give them access to collegiate support and continuing medical education,” he added.