Is there really a shortage of doctors in central Queensland?

It’s no secret central Queensland needs more doctors. There are new employment ads for GPs and specialists advertised on job boards almost every week. What many people don’t know however, central Queensland already have many highly skilled doctors who are stuck in the bureaucracy of trying to get their qualifications recognized.

“We have three such women who joined our Get Work Ready program this year,” Integreat Queensland program facilitator Jaclyn Thompson said.

“These women are fully qualified overseas and have completed a Masters level specializations as well however, they have not been able to get their qualifications recognized in Australia due to the requirement for ‘Recency of Practice’.”

What is Recency of Practice?  If an overseas trained doctor has not practiced clinically for more than three years, they are required to prove their skills are current – officially known as ‘Recency of Practice’ – to gain their Australian qualification. For central Queensland residents, there are no opportunities to fulfil this requirement locally. Instead, they must return to the country where they obtained their qualification and work for at least three months.

“This requirement is particularly challenging for women who have taken a career break to raise children,” Jaclyn said.

“They are ready to enter the workforce as their children are now in schooling but since more than three years have passed, they now need Recency of Practice to able to practice medicine.

“The problem for many of these migrant women is they are either not in the financial position or don’t have adequate support at home to be able to leave their children in Australia and go overseas to work for three months.

“So what options are there for these highly qualified doctors who can’t get their qualifications recognized and where do they go from here?”

Picture: Three migrant women who joined the Get Work Ready program are qualified doctors in the homelands.

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