Ex-Waikato health boss defends Medical Council language policy

Asia's Tech News Daily

Ex-Waikato health boss defends Medical Council language policy

The former Waikato health chief has defended the Medical Council of New Zealand’s language policy after a US doctor called it bureaucratic “nonsense”.

Retired cardiologist and ex-head of medicine at Waikato District Health Board Dr Clyde Wade said the Council is tough on language requirements because English competency is critical to medical practice here.

He was responding to a Herald report on Sunday about a US doctor who was asked to take an English test when applying to practise in New Zealand. The request was dropped last Friday after a month of email exchanges.

Language testing goes both ways, Clyde said. He too had to sit a test in 1972 as a graduating medical student to qualify for practice in the US.

“The exam consisted of a two to three-hour paper in the morning and another one in the afternoon.

“At lunchtime there was an oral English exam for 30 mins, where a man from the US embassy (about 25 of us were sitting the exam in Wellington) would read out a phrase and we would have to write an answer in our exam books. Most of the questions were at primary school level and were greeted by gales of laughter.”

He believes the US doctor’s Indian name had nothing to do with the Council’s language assessment. “It would have been the same if he was German, French or Polish,” Clyde said.

Dr Kannan Subramaniam agrees. “It would be right for MCNZ to assess someone’s proficiency in English whether they are named Benjamin Button, Ramandeep Kahlon or Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, if they are new arrivals to New Zealand,” said the global medical lead at pharmaceutical company Viatris.

“Surely applying to be a doctor in a foreign country one would expect due diligence and scrutiny,” said Justin Hunt, a Kiwi software business owner in Japan.

Doctors applying for NZ registration must show their ability to speak and understand English is “sufficient to protect the health and safety of the public”, according to the Council’s language policy.

This can be done in eight ways, including having primary medical qualification from an NZ, Australian, UK, Irish, US, Canadian, or South African medical school; at least two years of work in an English language institution; or passing a test like the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Several readers wrote in to share their experiences of sitting English exams to qualify for work here and overseas after the Herald report.

“Well as a NZ’er I had to sit a written and oral English test to work in America, so fair’s fair!” said a senior Kiwi doctor who did not wish to be named.

“I just thought it was an amusing additional requirement in the application process and I was surprised that I didn’t get 100 per cent on the test!” an anaesthesist said about her UK experience.

David Cittadini believes the leeway New Zealand has shown in lifting the US doctor’s test requirement would not have happened there. “There are zero dispensations in the USA, if you have to sit an English test you have to sit an English test,” he said.

“Any form of immigration across any country is very difficult emotionally, legally and administratively,” said Cittadini, a Kiwi living in the US.

Others were sympathetic of the hoops people have to jump through to prove their language competence.

Early childhood teacher Sonja Steinmetz was also asked to take an English test when she was applying for her provisional teacher’s registration in 2016.

Ex-Waikato health boss defends Medical Council language policy

Sonja Steinmetz has a diploma in early childhood education from the University of Auckland. Photo / Supplied

The Singaporean of mixed German and Indian descent had just completed her graduate diploma from the University of Auckland the year before. She also had a degree from the University of Bristol, studied acting in New York, and worked as a radio DJ for an English language station in Singapore.

The test cost a few hundred dollars, a significant sum for Steinmetz who was earning minimum wage as a relief teacher at the time.

She reached out to her primary and secondary schools in Singapore, asking them to dig through 15-year-old records in order to write letters to the Education Council (now the Teaching Council) to show that she was indeed a student there and all the classes used English.

The entire process was done in hard copy and took months, so she hears the frustration felt by the US doctor.

“I thought it was laughable that they wanted me to go as far back as primary school. Who cares even if I learned it in sign language?

“I’d already gone to two universities where English was the main language.”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related


Whanganui Happenings

FANTASTIC MR FOXWhat: Fantastic Mr Fox is truly fantastic! But will he outsmart the horrible farmers Boggis, Bunce & Bean once more, or will the farmers have the last laugh? ... Read more »

Opinion: Enjoying what's important

Summer holidays with my boys, aged 12 and 10, can be expensive affairs. But funnily enough, it was watching a fantastic movie on Netflix that prompted me to think about ... Read more »

Westpac NZ warns of sophisticated new investment scam

Westpac NZ has warned New Zealanders to beware of a sophisticated new scam involving a fake Westpac investment prospectus. The prospectus, titled ‘High Yield Fixed Return Emerging Market Fund’, has ... Read more »

Tonga death toll: Three dead after eruption and tsunami, UN says

Three people have died following the eruption in Tonga on Saturday, according to the United Nations’ co-ordinator in the Pacific. Fiji-based UN co-ordinator Jonathan Veitch said two deaths were confirmed ... Read more »

Herald afternoon quiz: January 18

Test your brains with the Herald’s afternoon quiz. Be sure to check back on nzherald.co.nz for the morning quiz tomorrow. To challenge yourself with more quizzes, CLICK HERE. Read more »

NZ summer travel: 5 family adventures in Taupō

Summer in Taupō with its shimmering lake and the mighty peaks of Tongariro National Park shaping the horizon, ticks all the boxes for a laid-back family getaway, writes Ceana Priest ... Read more »

Paraglider injured at Treble Cone ski field near Wānaka

A helicopter has been sent to the Treble Cone ski field near Wānaka where a paraglider has been injured. A St John spokesperson said they were called to the skifield ... Read more »

Watch: Jaw-dropping video of flying deer stuns social media

A deer channelled Michael Jordan after it was filmed leaping to a ridiculous height while crossing a road in India. In footage wowing viewers on social media, the gravity-defying deer ... Read more »

Tonga eruption: Three-day trip for NZ Navy ships, comms blackout causes challenges

Two Navy ships will leave New Zealand today to meet an unknown challenge in Tonga after a massive volcanic eruption. Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai island was largely destroyed after an underwater ... Read more »

Covid-19 Omicron: Community focused Covid-19 saliva testing clinic opens

A new Covid-19 clinic that uses non-invasive saliva testing opens in Whanganui on Wednesday, January 19. The saliva testing is part of the wraparound services being implemented by the new ... Read more »

Feds to run three free lunchtime chats to boost farmer resilience

Three of New Zealand’s foremost motivational speakers on resilience and mental wellbeing will offer tips for farmers and growers in a series of free online lunchtime talks hosted by Federated ... Read more »

Westpac's Dominick Stephens appointed Treasury's chief economic advisor

Westpac’s chief economist Dominick Stephens has been appointed the Treasury’s chief economic advisor. Stephens has been the Treasury’s acting chief economic advisor since March 2021, while on secondment from Westpac. ... Read more »

Queen's residence vandalised with 'paedo home' graffiti

The Queen’s Scottish residence has become the site of a graffiti attack. According to the Daily Mail, police were called in to Her Majesty’s Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on ... Read more »

Covid-19: Six new cases in Rotorua, none in BOP district health board area

There are six new cases of Covid-19 in Rotorua today. All of today’s cases are linked to previously reported cases and are isolating at home or in managed accommodation. There ... Read more »

Covid-19 coronavirus: Parents could be called in to replace Australian teachers amid concerns of staff shortages

Australian parents could be called in to help supervise children in the classroom under a bold new plan to help schools tackle with Covid outbreaks. Amid concerns of staff shortages, ... Read more »

Aucklanders redeem 3000+ vouchers for discounted activities, 160,000 register

Aucklanders have redeemed more than 3000 vouchers issued on Saturday for discounted summer activities to reactivate the city after last year’s 107-day lockdown. Around 160,000 registrations have now been lodged ... Read more »

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Auckland children did not collapse after vaccine - health officials quash social media lies

Health officials have scotched social media claims suggesting five children collapsed after receiving their Covid-19 jab at a North Shore vaccination centre. Northern Regional Health Coordination Centre (NRHCC) clinical director ... Read more »

New $2.3 million fit-for-purpose fire station for Taihape

A new $2.3 million fire station is being built for Taihape’s volunteer fire brigade. “We are really excited to be moving into a brand new fit-for-purpose building,” Taihape chief fire ... Read more »

Mount Maunganui lifeguards set up safe swimming area as swells ease

Mount Maunganui lifeguards have raised the red and yellow patrol flag this morning signalling it’s safe to return to the water. The beach was closed over the last two days ... Read more »

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Contact of Omicron-infected MIQ worker tests positive, 14 cases today

A household contact of a MIQ worker with Omicron has also tested positive for Covid-19. As of this morning, a total of 86 contacts have been identified in relation to ... Read more »

MetService Christchurch weather: January 19th

MetService Christchurch weather: January 19th. Read more »

Emergency services responding to incident at Treble Cone ski field near Wānaka

A helicopter has been sent to the Treble Cone ski field near Wānaka where a person has been injured. A St John spokesperson said they were called to the skifield ... Read more »

MetService National weather: January 18th-20th

MetService National weather: January 18th-20th. Read more »

MetService Auckland weather: January 19th

MetService Auckland weather: January 19th. Read more »

The Country - Run1000 edition

Today on The Country, Rowena Duncum caught up with Waikato farmer and mental health advocate Sam Owen who is taking part in the #Run1000 to highlight the benefits of running ... Read more »

Nora the kākāpō puts in effort to save species with mating marathon

We’ve come a long way, baby. The shift in popular culture seen by shows such as the rebooted Sex and the City is just reflecting what nature has always known ... Read more »

NZIER survey points to increasing NZ inflation pressure

New Zealand business confidence and demand fell over the December quarter, while inflation pressures continued to build, NZIER said in releasing its latest survey. NZIER’s quarterly survey of business opinion ... Read more »

Covid 19: New South Wales' deadliest day

New South Wales has recorded 29,830 new Covid-19 cases and 36 more deaths of people with the virus on Tuesday. There are 2850 people in hospital, up from 2776 on ... Read more »

Covid 19 Omicron: NSW Health Minister victim of false RAT reporting

People in Australia are uploading false rapid antigen test (RAT) information about others on Service NSW, in what has been slammed as “juvenile, moronic” behaviour. NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard ... Read more »

Remember Hit the Beach? Rare board games collector offers nostalgia for sale

Thames man Jay Parker knows that sometimes social competitiveness isn’t that acceptable – which is why he took to board games. Jay discovered a group of guys that he worked ... Read more »

'Wipe the Māori out' - racist messages and threats towards Māori need to stop

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen Maori Television Māori Authority chairman Matthew Tukaki is no stranger to the sting of social media and other forms of racism and says it needs to stop. ... Read more »

Hamilton railway station tragedy: Woman, baby fatally struck by freight train

A woman and a baby are dead after being struck by a freight train at a Hamilton railway station this morning. Emergency services were called to Frankton Station around 8.10am ... Read more »

Gastroenteritis outbreak shuts two wards in Dunedin Hospital

By RNZ Two Dunedin Hospital wards have been closed and infection control measures are in place following a gastroenteritis outbreak. It was first detected on Monday last week with norovirus ... Read more »

Kristin Davis shares how she will approach SATC with her kids

Kristin Davis, known for her role of Charlotte on Sex and the City has told fans how she will approach conversations about the hit 90s show with her children. The ... Read more »

'Devastating blow': IVF procedures suspended for 90 days in Victoria

Victorian couples trying to conceive have been dealt a “devastating blow” as the highly infectious Omicron variant sparks staff shortages and surgery bans in the fertility treatment sector. Hours after ... Read more »

Rotorua coffee shop evacuated after neighbouring clothing store fire

A fire at a clothing store in Rotorua led to a neighbouring coffee shop and apartments being evacuated this morning. Fire crews were called to the fire at Lala Mandala ... Read more »

Child abuse: Woman denies failing to protect girl from sexual assault, hammer assault

An Auckland woman has denied failing to protect two young girls against assaults from another person who used a hammer and toy train, and one girl from sexual assault. The ... Read more »

High-profile Wellington public servant allegedly performed sex act in woman's home, court hears

A high-profile Wellington public servant was allegedly caught on camera performing a sex act in a woman’s house multiple times while she was out. Today in a pre-trial hearing at ... Read more »

Whanganui River tribes draw global focus to indigenous knowledge

A Māori development leader says the Whanganui River tribes have helped bring attention to global perspectives on indigenous knowledge, collaboration and trade. Te Puni Kōkiri regional director for Te Tai ... Read more »

Pāua fishing in Kaikōura: Public urged to gather 'for a feed, not the freezer'

By Samantha Gee of RNZ Members of the Kaikōura community are concerned its pāua fishery is being stripped by the huge demand from the public. The fishery reopened in December ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic