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Peers or pariahs? The quest for fairer conditions for international medical graduates in Australia

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Implementing recommendations of the parliamentary inquiry and international codes of practice on employment of IMGs

It has been more than 2 years since the final report of the inquiry into the registration processes and support for overseas-trained doctors1 was tabled in Parliament. The scope of the inquiry was extensive, involving over 200 submissions and 22 public hearings held in 12 different locations across Australia. In the foreword of the report, entitled Lost in the labyrinth, Steve Georganas, Chair of the Committee, acknowledged that “whilst IMGs [international medical graduates] generally have very strong community support, [they] do not always receive the same level of support from institutions and agencies that accredit and register them”.1 The report outlined 45 recommendations which, if implemented, would create a fairer registration and accreditation system without compromising patient safety.

In spite of the significant cost of the inquiry, borne by taxpayers, its recommendations have yet to be formally endorsed by the federal government. This is not a new situation. Over the past 25 years, a number of major inquiries have investigated the fairness and/or effectiveness of the registration and accreditation system, but have largely failed to produce meaningful improvements.2