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National registration must put patient care before red tape

11 October, 2007

The AMA welcomes the Government’s decision not to sign the Inter-Government Agreement (IGA) on national registration and accreditation, and instead to send it back to the States and Territories for further consultation with health professional representatives.

AMA President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua, said the AMA has serious concerns about the agreement, particularly for its potential to be used by Health Ministers as a lever for workforce reform and to dictate health care standards.

“Accreditation and registration of health care practitioners should be about quality and safety, with consistent standards across the board,” Dr Capolingua said.

“The AMA is concerned that the COAG direction implemented by the IGA would risk quality of care by linking the National Registration and Accreditation Agenda to a Task Substitution Agenda via the Australian Health Workforce Advisory Council.

“The AMA does not support a system that would substitute health service provision with less qualified providers. This puts Australians at risk of lower quality care.”

The AMA and the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC) believe that for doctors it is essential that the Australian Medical Council remain the independent accrediting body for medical training and setting standards for medical registration, and that it not be replaced by a board controlled by Health Ministers and bureaucratic committees.

“In order for Australia to continue to meet the world recognised high standards it has in medical training we must continue to have an independent accrediting body for the medical profession,” Dr Capolingua said.

“The COAG reform agenda would fail this criteria.

“The AMA continues to support the importance of national recognition of registration to further facilitate work mobility of the medical profession.

“This can be achieved with the minimum of bureaucracy and the minimum additional cost. We must not sacrifice patient care and be burdened with more red tape.

“When Australians need a doctor they have the right to see a doctor – a doctor who is as well trained tomorrow as they were yesterday.”