International GP Recruitment Reforms Coming Soon!

International GP Recruitment Reforms Coming Soon!

  • May 26, 2023

International GP Recruitment Reforms Coming Soon!

In our latest blog we provide a summary of the key details and proposed reforms outlined in the ‘Independent review of health practitioner regulatory settings’ (The Kruk Report) and how these changes can benefit your GP recruitment strategy, or search for work as a General Practitioner in Australia.

What is the review and why was it commissioned?

On 30 September 2022, National Cabinet announced an independently led review of Australia’s regulatory settings for health practitioners.

The 65-page review covers health practitioner registration, skill and qualification recognition for overseas trained health professionals and international students who have studied in Australia.

The goals of the review were to test the current regulatory settings for international medical graduates (IMGs) seeking medical registration in Australia to ensure it is fit for purpose, comparable with similar countries and not imposing unnecessary barriers or compliance costs on migrants or employers. 

What were the findings and recommend reform proposals of the Kruk Report? 

For ease of reference, the below information is listed in the same order as the full report.

Foreword

  • 32% of medical practitioners in Australia are internationally trained
  • Our registration and immigration processes are slower, more complex, and more expensive than our international counterparts (e.g., UK, NZ, Canada and the US)
  • The registration process can take up to 21 months and cost in excess of $25,000
  • We currently require 860 more GPs. This is predicted to increase to 10,600 by 2032
  • Demand is rising due to a growing & ageing population and an increasing incidence of chronic disease
  • The current system is too difficult to navigate and the processes are duplicative and inconsistent

 

International Benchmarking 

The Medical Board of Australia recognises 6 competent authorities in 5 countries. By comparison, New Zealand recognises 23 competent authorities, the UK 30+ and Canada 8.

Medical Registration costs in Australia can be as high as $12,500. This compares unfavourably to New Zealand ($8,500), Canada ($6,000) and the UK ($9,000).

Migration costs are also considerably higher. Australia = $8,000; NZ = $1,000; Canada = $2,500; UK = $1,000.

Our international peers have made their own regulatory processes simpler and cheaper, without lowering standards.

Criminal History:               NZ does not require a check unless there is a matter to disclose

Recency of Practice:          UK & Canada impose low or no recency requirements

ID Verification:                  UK is moving to an online app for IMGs to verify identity offshore

Supervision:                       In Canada, almost all supervision is virtual

Registration:                      Canada, NZ & the UK grant full registration rather than provisional

Visas:                                Canada, NZ and the UK offer low-cost visas to health practitioners 

 

Proposed Reforms 

  • Enable applicants to ‘tell us once’ in one place using one portal
  • Fast track more cohorts from countries with similar regulatory systems
  • Better recognise experience and skills when assessing applications
  • Align English language standards with the UK and NZ

These reforms will reduce duplication and inefficiency and enable overseas trained GPs from countries with similar regulatory settings to complete the journey in less than 3 months

 Recommendations

 Remove duplication by sharing information across all regulators & agencies using a single portal (early 2024)

  • Enable cohorts from trusted countries to be ‘fast tracked’ through competent authority pathways (mid 2024)
  • Remove/Suspend labour market testing for sponsoring health practitioner visas (mid 2023)

These changes will reduce time and costs and make the process easier to navigate.

Future Vision

 Reduce typical applicant journey to less than 3 months

  • Remove the need for applicants to complete an ID check when they arrive
  • Provider number issued automatically within 48 hours of receiving medical registration

Key Reform Priorities

 Expanding number of competent authorities to specialist IMGs and removing requirements for further assessments (by mid-2024)

  • Better recognising skills and experience, offering flexibility for practitioners who are highly skilled
  • Transitioning equivalence assessments from the RACGP/ACRRM to the Australian Medical Council (AMC) will reduce time and drive greater consistency
  • Allowing centralised support (concierge service) for assessing and administering applications
  • AHPRA to reduce application assessment timeframe from 29 days to 10 days and digitise application forms and processes from July 2023

 In Conclusion

The Kruk report proposes several exciting reforms that can help Australia remain competitive in the international market for highly skilled medical practitioners.

Once implemented, these reforms will:

  • Increase the number of Specialist IMGs who are able to work in Australia
  • Reduce the timeframe, complexity and cost of completing the process
  • Reduce the often-onerous supervision requirements placed on the practices and supervisors

To discuss anything included in this blog, the specific recruitment strategy of your medical centre, or your personal plans to relocate to work as an International Medical Graduate in Australia, please contact the relevant local DXC Medical office today.

Useful Links

https://www.health.gov.au/independent-review-of-health-practitioner-regulatory-settings

To request a full copy of the report, please email darren.compton@dxcmedical.com.au

 

Recent Articles
GP Journeys: From South Africa to Townsville Image

GP Journeys: From South Africa to Townsville

  • February 23, 2024

For South African GP Dr Arthur Berry, medicine is a family affair. After completing his medical studies in Pretoria, Arthur worked as a medical officer in the public health system before founding a practice in partnership with his father in a rural area of South Africa.

GP Journeys: From The Netherlands to Kiama Image

GP Journeys: From The Netherlands to Kiama

  • February 14, 2024

Dr Leonie graduated from medical school in The Netherlands in 2014, before completing the rigorous three-year training to become a GP. Throughout her studies and training, she accumulated extensive education and experience in the Dutch healthcare system.