ADF – 7 March 2012

At Sydney meeting doctors vote against age discrimination and wasted talent by 417-1 to oppose the removal of 1800 of their senior colleagues from the medical register from 1 July 2013.

The meeting held at St George Leagues Club on Sunday 4 March 2012 is part of a growing move by doctors to defend their senior colleagues’ right to be treated justly and fairly by the new national registration system introduced by former state governments and bureaucrats using the COAG process.

The Australian Doctors’ Fund is calling on doctors across Australia to get behind their senior colleagues and support the retention of the registration category, Limited registration Public Interest Occasional Practice. It also wants the category open to those who have been shut out.

Executive Director of the Australian Doctors’ Fund, Mr Stephen Milgate said, “Under the National registration scheme introduced in 2010, 1800 senior doctors were given an Occasional Practice registration category but only for 3 years. No senior doctor who has left the general register has been allowed into the Occasional Practice registration category from 1 July 2010. ”

The result has been hundreds of senior doctors not being able to use their medical knowledge in any way since to do so would breach the regulations of unregistered practice. The 1800 doctors in the Occasional Practice registration category will join this group in oblivion from 1 July 2013. This is an absolute waste of some of the most exceptional talent in Australian medicine.

“Our senior doctors could bring a wealth of experience to a whole range of government and community activities. They should be utilised as an expert resource, not discarded,” Mr Milgate said.

Chairman of the Senior Active Doctors Working Party, Dr Frank Johnson said, “What is happening is an outrage. We have seen senior doctors denied access to the Occasional Practice category from 2010 and those who are in this category will be going in the same direction in 2013 – on the scrapheap.”

Former President of the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, Dr Richard Prytula said, “This group of senior and very experienced doctors are fit and willing to continue to contribute their knowledge and expertise to communities, in Australia and overseas, in many different ways. The proposed lack of appropriate registration deprives both these doctors and our communities of this wealth of potential benefit and fails the test of common sense.”

Shadow Minister for Seniors, The Hon Bronwyn Bishop told the meeting, “My aim is to make it as offensive to be ageist as it is to be sexist or racist. I understand entirely why you want to have your qualifications continued to be recognised and to continue to utilise them.”

The meeting heard numerous examples of highly qualified and eminent medical practitioners no longer able to help with overseas aid and assisting members of their local communities because they have been shut out from the register even though they are fit enough and willing enough to make a contribution.

Mr Milgate said, “We have an existing category for Occasional Practice. It has worked well. All that is required is for AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency) to make this a permanent, open category. Experienced doctors are worth their weight in gold. They should not be shut out of the system.”

Contact details:
Mr Stephen Milgate 0425 283 411
Dr Frank Johnson 07 5537 4669