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Need for Medical Ombudsman

In return for our ethical and excellent performance in the delivery of medical services to the community, society accords us trust, respect and financial rewards. But that is not enough for overseas trained doctors (OTDs), who also need fair - not lenient - treatment from medical regulatory authorities. This has been a contentious issue for a long time.

16 Apr 2012

In return for our ethical and excellent performance in the delivery of medical services to the community, society accords us trust, respect and financial rewards.

But that is not enough for overseas trained doctors (OTDs), who also need fair - not lenient - treatment from medical regulatory authorities. This has been a contentious issue for a long time.

The Australian Indian Medical Graduate Association (AIMGA) has deep concerns about medical boards, councils and tribunals which adopt exceptionally hard measures out of proportion to the offense committed in order to discipline overseas trained doctors.

AIMGA believes that the system is not transparent or flexible enough to allow a reasonable defence once an OTD is deregistered. We believe that there is denial of natural justice and there is no mediating body like an ombudsman with a neutral position to influence a justified outcome.

There are numerous cases where the initial charges against an overseas trained doctor were dismissed by the courts, but medical boards, councils and tribunals continued to pursue the matter for decades, unjustifiably maintaining there was an untreatable serious flaw in the personality of the doctor, and the accused is burdened by allegations irrespective of their true or false status.  This has destroyed many doctors and their families with death, desertion, disease and divorce almost reaching to the definition of human rights violation.

AIMGA will never advocate anything less than the best possible clinical care and reprimand for those doctors who fail to do so. 

We have so far sought without success dialogue on a transparent and fair process, though the current health minister has agreed in personal communication on the need for an ombudsman.

The influx of new graduates may not immediately fulfill the demands of ‘Area of Need’ hospitals, so the Australian Government’s recruitment policy to invite OTDs is likely to continue.

With repeated representations, employment conditions for overseas trained doctors may improve. But to severely penalise a doctor who is not convicted of the allegations leveled against them will remain a separate and serious issue, which needs urgent and comprehensive review.

Shailja Chaturvedi, President
Australian Indian Medical Graduate Association (AIMGA)


Published: 16 Apr 2012