The OTD Moratorium: a vexing moral issue

FOR more than 15 years, Australia has had a stated ‘short-term’ policy of recruiting doctors from overseas as a way of resolving Australia’s medical workforce shortage.

Now, using a deceptive classification system that treats small rural towns as though they are major regional cities, the Federal Government is claiming significant improvements in health service delivery that, for many rural communities, are illusory and unsustainable.

Clearly, the 10-Year OTD Moratorium is not a solution to the rural medical workforce shortage. It is an admission of guilt that has enabled politicians and policy-makers to ignore real workforce issues. And it is a serious moral issue because it discriminates against international medical graduates (IMGs) and their families.

Any doctor seeking to practise in rural and remote communities, wherever they have trained, should be given priority access to the basic and advanced training required to meet the