IMGs abandon jobs due to interview delay
INTERNATIONAL medical graduates are turning their backs on Australian general practices as delays for compulsory pre-employment interviews blow out to six months in some areas.
In Victoria, two medical practice groups have been trying to secure a pre-employment structured clinical interview (PESCI) for about 14 IMGs seeking to work in their practices.
Completion of the interview is required by the Medical Board of Australia before an IMG can be registered. The measure was introduced in 2008, but waiting times for PESCIs have ballooned after the introduction of the national registration process.
Each state has different PESCI providers, but the two bodies accredited to conduct the interviews in Victoria – the Rural Workforce Agency of Victoria and the Medical Board of Australia – are particularly struggling to meet demand.
Tristar Medical Group chief executive Kylie El-Sheikh said only six PESCI dates had been secured for potential employees since March. As a result, several IMGs had eventually decided not to work in the state, and in some cases had decided not to work in Australia altogether, she said.
“When someone gets a job, they don’t want to wait six months to get to the next step.”
Allied Medical Group executive director Karen Gerzenstein said the problem had magnified since the new MBA was set up. “We need to provide an efficient and fair system for [IMGs] to get registered, otherwise we risk losing them to other countries... It’s happening now,” she said.
A spokeswoman for the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) admitted Victoria was struggling to find qualified and experienced practitioners to conduct interviews.
She said AHPRA was working with the colleges, medical educators and professionals in Victoria and other states to source more practitioners to conduct these assessments.