Objective: There are significant shortages in the psychiatric workforce in Australasia, particularly in the rural and
remote regions of Australia and New Zealand. In response to these shortages, mental health services have recruited
large numbers of overseas trained psychiatrists (OTP). These are specialist psychiatrists, trained and recognised as
such in other countries. Our objective was to ascertain how OTPs experience the processes of commencing professional
practice in Australasia.
Method: OTPs were surveyed to identify the pathways to obtaining specialist registration and College Fellowship
in Australasia and to explore their experiences as they engaged in this process.
Results: Although limited by a low response rate, the data does highlight a level of discontentment among those
OTPs surveyed. The key issues identified related to the examination process, poor communication between different
agencies (including the RANZCP), visa and residency related issues, medical board registration difficulties and
notable differences between Australia and New Zealand.
Conclusion: There is a negative perception among OTPs regarding the existing pathways to registration as specialist
psychiatrists and the attainment of Fellowship. We submit that the RANZCP has a central and important role
in resolving some of the underlying issues and supporting OTPs as vital and valued members of the workforce in
Australia and New Zealand.
Keywords: Australasia, experiences, overseas trained psychiatrists, RANZCP, workforce