22 Oct 2009

Easier soon for NZ doctors to work in Australia

4:36 pm on 22 October 2009

Draft laws have been introduced to the Australian parliament making it easier for New Zealand-trained doctors to work across the Tasman.

The legislation, introduced by federal health minister Nicola Roxon, is designed to remove current restrictions.

The Australian Medical Association says it welcomes the changes, especially around a so-called "10-year moratorium".

It says New Zealand residents who study medicine in Australia and choose to stay will no longer have to work in a rural or regional area where there are doctor shortages, for a minimum period of 10 years before certain restrictions on their work are removed.

However, the association believes the changes should go further. President Andrew Pesce says the association has identified many problems with how international medical graduates are treated in Australia.

Dr Pesce says international graduates make a valuable contribution to the health sector in Australia and they need more support to encourage them to seek a permanent place in the medical workforce there.