TRDs usually enter Australia to work in medical positions designated as being area of need by the relevant State or Territory health authority. Alternatively, they may enter as occupational trainees to undertake clinical specialist training.
TRDs are generally granted conditional registration in Australia. These doctors are also subject to supervision by an appropriately qualified Australian medical practitioner. Currently there is no formal assessment of the level of theoretical and clinical skills expected of TRDs.
TRDs cannot access Medicare rebates unless the Minister for Health and Ageing or a delegate of the Minister makes a determination under section 19AB of the Act specifically recognising the doctor for that purpose. This determination does not affect the ability of these doctors to prescribe pharmaceuticals, order diagnostic tests and refer patients to another medical practitioner.
Exemptions under section 19AB of the Act are generally only granted if overseas-trained doctors commit to work in a district of workforce shortage. A district of workforce shortage can effectively be categorised as one in which the community is considered to have less access to medical professional services than that experienced by the population in general either because of the remote nature of the community or because of lack of supply of services or a combination of the two factors.
In making decisions to grant exemptions, the delegate will consider a range of factors. These include Medicare data, available workforce data and evidence of unsuccessful attempts to recruit an Australian medical practitioner to positions. The delegate will also liaise with relevant State or Territory health authorities regarding the area of need classification of positions.
Exemptions granted under section 19AB of the Act are time and location specific and are dependent upon compliance by TRDs with employment arrangements, medical registration requirements and visa restrictions.