Sometime last year we had a discussion on PNG Doctors Internet Group concerning the registration of overseas qualified medical doctors in Papua New Guinea. This discussion was prompted by media reports, patient complaints, and from our own knowledge about medical doctors who obtained their qualifications overseas (or so it seems) and were practising in PNG only to be later discovered as fraudsters!
This is what one of my colleague had to say – “I am appalled at how easy anybody can get into PNG and practise medicine. Our Medical Board is not stringent on ensuring the person is qualified for the job they are applying for. I have knowledge of non-medical graduates from overseas working as medical officers (paid for at expatriate pay) in some institutions. I also know of people with limited medical knowledge been given the green light to practise medicine in our country. These people are using PNG as a stepping stone to getting into Australia. What I do not know is, at whose expense? Our people?”
So I decided to do a bit of research into the laws governing the registration of overseas qualified medical doctors wishing to practise in PNG. Which was not an easy task I have to admit since I had to read the Medical Registration Act of PNG several times to understand and interpret it correctly.
Here is what I found and it might surprise some of you.
It does not require non-PNG residents who are medical practitioners working in PNG to be registered. As long as their qualifications (MBBS or MD) is given by a university or college as approved by the Medical Board.
Those who are found practising by fradulent means will pay a fine fee of K2000.00 or serve a prison term of 12 months or both.
If this is the situation in PNG, I wonder what the it is like in other pacific island countries.
Today (16/03/07) a news item appeared in the National newspaper regarding the above issue and I thought it would be approriate to make a brief mention of it.
You can read the full article here.
Briefly, the PNG Medical Board has noticed a decline in the number or registered medical practioners in PNG and has asked all to be registered.