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Bill A Risk To Patient Safety

In the interests of patient safety, doctors who trained overseas should have to meet the same standards as New Zealand trained doctors in order to work here, the New Zealand Medical Association says.

The NZMA today gave evidence to the Health Select Committee on a Bill that would change the way foreign trained doctors are registered in New Zealand. The NZMA urged the Committee to reject the Medical Practitioners (Foreign Qualified Medical Practitioners) Amendment Bill.

"Although there is a widespread perception that overseas trained doctors are subject to unreasonable barriers here, the NZMA has seen no firm evidence of such restrictive practices," NZMA CEO Cameron McIver told the Select Committee. "In fact, the NZMA welcomes foreign doctors who have appropriate levels of competence, and many of our members are from outside New Zealand.

"Continuing widespread criticism of the registration system could bring the system into disrepute. Therefore, the NZMA is recommending that an independent review of the system be carried out.

"This Bill proposes that the New Zealand Qualifications Authority should decide which foreign trained doctors should be allowed to work in New Zealand. This would create a two-tier system of medical registration, and inevitably lower safety standards.

"New Zealanders deserve nothing less than a high standard which all doctors, wherever they trained, should have to meet," Mr McIver said.

(A copy of the submission is available from NZMA National Office)


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