A story that ran on TMR earlier this week has inspired a call for more support and compassion for international doctors sitting GP fellowship exams.
A GP in South Australia is renewing the call for more personalised feedback and support for RACGP exam candidates who attained their primary medical degree overseas.
Dr Shahid Bhatti launched the petition on Thursday after reading an article on The Medical Republic that described the difficulties of one anonymous overseas-trained doctor while trying to attain RACGP fellowship.
The anonymous clinician, referred to as Dr K, trained as a cardiothoracic surgeon in Pakistan before moving to Australia around 15 years ago.
While he was studying to become a GP, Dr K’s personal life was tumultuous: his wife was receiving treatment for metastatic breast cancer, his two children were very young, and several relatives suffered complications from covid-19.
Despite passing both the applied knowledge test and the remote clinical exam on his first attempts, Dr K has failed the key feature problem exam nine times.
At the time he spoke to TMR, he was running out of time to complete his fellowship.
Dr Bhatti’s petition, addressed to RACGP president Dr Nicole Higgins and Health Minister Mark Butler, seeks special permission for Dr K to be allowed additional time to resit the KFP.
“It would be a great loss to community and our health system if we lose Dr K and his wife (who is a specialist physician),” the petition reads.
“Imagine the waste of talent and all that training and investment of time, effort, money and expertise that went into their training (over 16 years).”
It goes on to call for more personalised support for internationally trained fellowship candidates.
“Let’s stay together in supporting each other for a better medical community and for a just society,” the petition concludes.