ASADA wants doctors who are stepping down (non-practising doctors) to be able to do just that without being required to meet the same CPD, recency of practice, and police clearance provisions that fully registered doctors follow. On the flip-side, retired or non-practising doctors according to the Medical Board cannot offer any medical opinion on anything, anytime, and certainly cannot be available to medically assist anyone or lend a medical hand.

Not good enough?

Dr David Young is a retired anaesthetist, who likes to spend time with his much-loved alpacas

He speaks of current ‘recency of practice’ requirements, when he asks, “Does doing anaesthetics for a month, which gets your recency of practice, render you safe as an anaesthetist? I don’t think one month a year of anaesthetics is enough, either in one block, or in bits and pieces.”

As far as assisting others with locums, he must live where anaesthetists aren’t in short supply as he says: “There are enough younger anaesthetists wanting work, so that finding locums is difficult”.

He is more miffed about the erosion of his community standing, particularly amongst karate enthusiasts. He is no longer the volunteer karate team doctor, and instead someone without medical qualifications but with a paramedic or nursing certificate has taken over. He wonders if his experience as team doctor accounts for little after 20 years?

“I started assisting at karate tournaments in 1983, last one in 2017, during which I officiated at one world title, one junior world title, regional tournaments e.g. Asia Pacific, national titles, state titles and many local tournaments.”

“Now, I have been asked to look after karate tournaments as a ‘first aider’, but Medical Defence thinks that I would be expected by the attendees to work at the ‘doctor ‘ level that they are used to, and I wouldn’t have insurance cover.”

He spoke of the hardening of registration CPD and recency of practice requirements and what this means for people like him.

“I am still asked by the locals for opinions and have to be careful.”

“I used to write scripts and referrals – many situations are obvious enough to refer direct to a specialist, saving time and money. Most of the scripts I wrote were continued from other medicos.”

You get the feeling that not removing the “Dr” title was a shrewd move because more doctors would be up in arms if they lost this, along with other privileges, on retirement.

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