Thursday, 3 April 2014

This is what a cartel looks like

The news is awash this week with stories of foreign doctors unable to find medical work in New Zealand – because, says the Medical Council, there are enough local doctors already, thank you very much.

Which leads to an obvious question:

Are the rules around licensing designed to protect doctors’ patients? Or to protect doctors’ salaries?

Foreign doctors have to sit a local exam before being allowed to practice. The local Medical Council limits entry to foreign doctors by limiting the number of examinations it offers.


As Eric Crampton’s post makes abundantly clear,

It’s the tip of a whole series of policy directions which control the health sector’s workforce and make little sense except from a rent-seeking perspective.


  1. Doctors in Public Hospitals are paid by the tax payers. Increasing the number of training or specialist positions available will increase the cost of healthcare. DHB's, which have to work within a budget, determine the number of posts available, and even at times disallow recruitment into those positions depending on current spending.

    The quality of medical training around the world varies enormously and it is one of the functions of the NZMC (which is a statutory body and not a doctors' club) to ensure that their doctors are competent. Locally trained doctors are a known quantity and those from countries with similar standards will be easily assimilated, the problem lies with the vast number of unknown training systems and even the variability within them. So the rules around registration to practice, and being allowed to continue practicing, are put in place by the NZMC for the protection of patients.

    One would hope that foreign graduates, who should be intelligent enough to know, find out before emigrating to another country what processes they have to go through for registration. Also, as far as I recall, one needs a job before being allowed residency in New Zealand.

    "The doctors graduated from medical schools in non-North American or non-Western European countries, including Britain (sic), and (sic) must therefore pass a registration exam when they emigrate to New Zealand." They also need to pass an English language competency exam.

    An overseas trained specialist.

    1. overseas trained specialist
      Yours is a health service comms response that pointedly avoids the monopoly/gravy train preservation problems that separate people from the health services they need and providers from providing.
      j cuttance

  2. @ J Cuttance - How do you manage to dredge out such a bunch of garbage that has no relevance to either what PC said or what I said. Sure allopathic medicine is a monopoly, but then you do have a choice of being able to see your naturopath, homeopath, acupuncturist, herbalist, faith healer or whatever to cure you of your ills. If you want someone from mainstream medicine to see you then you have to see someone that the NZMC has deemed fit to practice medicine. If you do not like what the elected government decided the duties of the NZMC are and who sits on it, then vote for one that offers change. In the mean time you have to see someone who has been through the requisite university and specialist training if you want a real doctor.


  3. "If you do not like what the elected government decided the duties of the NZMC are and who sits on it, then vote for one that offers change."

    This is asking rape victims to attend the AGM of the Society of Professional Rapists to select and vote for a different bunch of rapists to the ones raping them presently . Guess what, the new rapists are going to do the same to victims as the previous ones did- rape them. It's merely a matter of style.

    Vote for rapist A or vote for rapist B. What a choice you offer. OTM you are an uncivilised thug.


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  5. Doctors are like banks - a Doctor is a Doctor is a Doctor, in the same way a bank is a bank is a bank (ie: "Doctor" means something fairly specific which is universally accepted, just as "bank" means something universal)

    In the same way a bank in certain parts of the World - Panama or the Cayman Islands, for instance - is viewed with enormous suspicion, so too are 'Doctors' trained in certain parts of the World.

    The suspicion is unfounded as a Doctor trained in (let's be frank here) - a 'wog' country - is more than adequately qualified and should be allowed to be a Doctor in NZ; it is simply racist reasons preventing it dressed up as concerns about training.

    Similarly the average Panama bank offers transaction accounts, makes loans and gives you a debit card but have no chance whatsoever of getting a banking licence to operate in NZ; if the Reserve Bank Governor was asked why he would reply "because...well....because they are (y'know - wogs! and probably really dodgy)"


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