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Risks of complaints and adverse disciplinary findings against international medical graduates in Victoria and Western Australia

To the Editor: The article by Elkin and colleagues1 has certainly reheated the long-simmering debate about bringing highly trained international medical practitioners from other countries to provide health care in Australia. Yet, it does not discuss the clinical and cultural acclimatisation they need. There are many moral and social issues associated with condemning an IMG without helping them to adapt to their locality. The study indicates that an effective orientation process of integration for individual doctors from overseas is needed.

Australia actively recruits doctors from overseas on limited registration to provide adequate services in rural and remote areas. These doctors have limited access to Medicare, to free public education for their family members and to other services that Australian residents enjoy. This is not conducive to good medical practice.

IMGs are required to pass a series of examinations that test their language and technical competency, but this does not guarantee employment. Supervised positions, vital for clinical competency, are scarce for these doctors. Most high-level governance and administrative positions do not include IMGs who could represent other IMGs in deciding policy matters. Furthermore, complaints against IMGs…