19 Apr 2013

Course boosts work chances for foreign doctors

8:11 am on 19 April 2013

Health officials say the number of overseas doctors being employed in low skilled jobs after moving to New Zealand is falling thanks to a course designed to help them get jobs in the health field.

Almost 90% of migrant doctors who have taken part in the NZREX Preparation Placement Programme have been registered.

The course was developed by Health Workforce New Zealand, part of the Ministry of Health, in 2011.

It aims to give clinicians the skills they need to pass this country's registration exam.

Training up to 10 people at a time, the programme is on its fifth intake.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says in the past highly skilled overseas doctors have been lost to the medical profession when moving to New Zealand and many have ended up driving taxis.

He says the course is providing such people with the confidence to sit the exam.

The director of clinical training at the Auckland District Health Board, Dr Stephen Child, oversees the programme.

Dr Child says 41% of New Zealand's hospital doctors trained abroad - the highest level in the world - and the country needs their skills.