International doctors under investigation

DR Khin Maung Thet left Burma during the political unrest of 1988 and travelled the world as a doctor until he found a home in Gladstone.

He also worked for prestigious organisations such as the United Nations but now faces scrutiny from the Queensland Medical Board.

The recent drama of so-called "Dr Death'' Jayant Patel, an Indian-trained doctor responsible for a number of medical negligence cases who slipped through the Medical Board's screening process, has sparked the review.

Dr Thet graduated in Burma in 1980, and worked there until 1988 when he left for Western Samoa to work for the UN. "I worked in Western Samoa for two years and then I worked in South Africa until 2003,'' Dr Thet said.

"I learnt a lot and studied further to be an anaesthetist. I was enjoying working in South Africa but just the crime ... I wanted to settle in Australia because of the crime (in South Africa).

"So I applied for a job in Sydney. They were happy with my experience and I worked there for two years. "I moved to Gladstone because I could use my skills more and practise as an anaesthetist.''

Dr Thet said he was not worried about the results of the Queensland Medical Board review.

"I think it's a standard procedure and it's necessary otherwise false doctors will come to the area and threaten us,'' he said.

Gladstone Hospital Medical Superintendent Ian Mottarelly said he too was confident their foreign doctors would not be facing any problems as a result of the Medical Board's review.

"We've got a number of foreign doctors ... from all over the place ? from Germany, England, United States, Zimbabwe and Iraq,'' Dr Mottarelly said.

"Most of the universities have very similar training programs. "We like to see their postgraduate training. "The populations they are training with are very different and the range of conditions are different because of those populations.''

Dr Mottarelly said there were eight overseas-trained doctors at Gladstone Hospital and estimated there were about seven others in the Gladstone region.

"They are an essential part of our workforce,'' he said. "If we have a reduction in doctors we would be looking at a reduction in services.

"Australian doctors can't fill all the positions. "There aren't enough to go around, particularly in a non-metro area.

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