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Australia Mulls New Accreditation For Overseas Doctors

oncerns over his work, he was restricted from carrying out certain types of operations - such as liver and pancreatic surgeries - in the US.

Later, Patel's US medical licence was terminated.

"There are no hard rules in place to ensure the quality of these doctors is up to the local standard," Birrell added.

Abbott said he was committed to seeing the new scheme - covering the accreditation of hospital doctors and medical specialists - put in place by 2008.

"Cutbacks under the federal government had produced a 'medical workforce crisis'," a federal opposition health spokesperson was quoted by news.com.au as saying.

This had created pressure to bring in overseas-trained doctors even if they didn't meet Australian standards, she said.

"It is always possible there are doctors slipping through who do not meet Australian standards," she said.

Overseas-trained doctors working in Australia are normally assessed by the Australian Medical College (AMC), which determines whether they are eligible to be assessed by the relevant college.

Increasingly, however, state medical boards have given the doctors accreditation under "area of need" provisions without AMC assessment.

According to Queensland Health Minister Stephen Robertson, authorities had rejected 1,800 applications from overseas-trained doctors in the past year after the Patel scandal.



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