Evaluating the Overseas Trained Doctor National Education and Training Program

The Overseas Trained Doctor National Education and Training (OTDNET) program is delivered via a network of regional training providers across Australia. It is dedicated to providing support to overseas-trained doctors (OTDs)  in gaining general medical registration and/or specialist (General Practice) registration.   

A significant proportion of primary health care services in regional, rural, remote and outer metropolitan areas are provided by OTDs with limited registration and/or without a recognised vocational qualification.

Before OTDNET was established the education, training and support provided to OTDs was inconsistent and, at times, poorly targeted and inadequate. Temporary resident doctors are often working in rural and remote locations with limited or no access to high quality education and training under other workforce program structures. This represents a significant risk to workforce retention and to the quality and effectiveness of the health services delivered.

Recommendation 41 of the Lost in the Labyrinth: Report on the inquiry into registration process and support for overseas trained doctors refers to the development of a nationally consistent and streamlined system of education and training supports for overseas-trained doctors. The OTDNET program was designed partly to address the needs of OTDs in regional, rural and remote locations and to address this recommendation.

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    Our Solution

    The objective of the evaluation was to determine whether the objectives of the program have been met and identify recommendations for future improvement..

    Sprout Labs adopted a mixed methodology approach to the evaluation process. The approach included:

    • Interviews with key staff members from a network of 17 training providers around Australia
    • Interviews with the rural health workforce agencies from each state and the Northern territory
    • An online survey of the overseas-trained doctors who participated in the program
    • Interviews with overseas-trained doctors who participated in the program

Preliminary results were presented to stakeholders in the November 2014 OTDNET forum and the final results form a report that provides recommendations for future improvement.