Pauline Hanson has revealed that she refuses to be treated by doctors trained outside of Australia, claiming that she doesn’t trust them and that they are not up to Australian standards.

The controversial leader of the right-wing One Nation party made the revelation while slamming a proposal from Health Minister Brad Hazzard to remove barriers preventing overseas doctors from working in Australia.

Mr Hazzard told the Daily Telegraph that the “barbed wire fence” of red tape medical graduates trained overseas face to practice in New South Wales has forced hundreds of doctors to quit the industry, even as the country faces a GP shortage that risks creating a healthcare “apocalypse”.

“This should be ringing alarm bells in the offices of the Federal Health Department and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP),” he said.

Speaking to Sky News, Hanson questioned the red tape Mr Hazzard was referring to and went on to claim that his plan would lower the standards in healthcare.

“Lowering the standard again which I believe that if you do that and allow these foreign doctors here that are not up to our standards,” she said.

“Well then you’re going to play Russian roulette with people’s lives.”

“I personally will not go to a foreign doctor because I don’t trust … the system when I know they’ve allowed them into this country and most of them don’t pass the first test.”

To practise medicine in Australia, doctors who have earned medical degrees from overseas institutions need to be registered with the Australian Medical Council, which can involve passing a written exam and clinical exam, including demonstrating a minimum standard of English speaking skills through proof of education in English or passing one of several exams.

Hanson claimed that a lot of overseas doctors had to take the test “a couple of times” and that many couldn’t pass because “they can’t speak English” – though it is unclear which test she was referring to.

“You can’t be a doctor in this country if you can’t communicate with the patient. It’s not good at all,” she said.

“If we allow these foreign doctors in that can’t pass the test, they’ve already lowered the standard twice.”

To combat this lowering of standards, Hanson said the solution should be paying GPs more to prevent them from moving into specialist areas to get a higher wage.

“We’ve got to stop draining doctors from other countries and bringing them out here to Australia because, you know, we have a world standard in (medicine),” she continued.

“The people (Australia is) bringing over from overseas, we’re lowering our standards.”

Her comments have come under fire across social media, with many rallying to support internationally-trained doctors and praising them for the care they have provided.

“Pauline Hanson yet again demonstrated prejudice against foreign trained doctors. Maybe we should fast track our current medical students? Oh that would be lowering standards then as well! And who still has mandates? Misleading bigoted crap once again from this troublemaker!” one person noted.

“To all my wonderful colleagues, Australian or from other countries, who Pauline Hanson might consider foreign. I am so sorry. You are wonderful,” one emergency physician tweeted.

“Our health system depends on you. Thank you for working alongside me and for treating me and my family. 🙏”

Another doctor wrote: “My GP came to Australia from overseas, he is an excellent communicator and caring doctor, I thank him for picking up my cancer.

“What Pauline Hanson is doing is spewing racist bile based on her own prejudices. She is a truly awful human being with a serious chip on her shoulder.”

Image: Sky News

This article first appeared on OverSixty.