Young Doctor Supply Restrictions – A Farce As Nurses Given OK To Practice – 26 August 1998

Medicare provider number restrictions designed to restrict the number of young Australian trained doctors entering General Practice are a farce following a decision by the NSW Government to licence nurse practitioners said Stephen Milgate, Executive Director of the Australian Doctors’ Fund in Sydney today.

The Medicare provider number restrictions were introduced in November 1996 by the Federal Health Minister, Dr Michael Wooldridge, who alleged that it was unwise to allow young recently graduated GP’s to be able to practice too early in their careers in medical clinics despite the fact that the same young doctors are allowed to work for long hours in public hospitals treating serious and some times life threatening medical conditions.

Mr Milgate said “While the Federal Government legislated to restrict young doctors from practicing medicine by restricting Medicare provider numbers the NSW Government is creating a nurse practitioner category alleging a shortage of doctors.”

“The irony is that Dr Wooldridge says that young doctors should not be able to be involved in private fee-for-service practice too early in their careers because they were inexperienced but now we have nurses who have never undertaken medical studies being able to enter independent practice,” Mr Milgate said.

“Young Australian trained doctors have been wronged. Their futures have been unfairly and unnecessarily restricted.”

It is time for the Prime Minister to intervene and remove the restrictions that stopyoung doctors from obtaining a provider number,” said Mr Milgate.