7 Mar 2022

Medical Council taken to court by neurosurgeon after fail bid for specialist registration

2:42 pm on 7 March 2022

A Hungarian neurosurgeon is taking the Medical Council to court, after they turned down his bid to work in a specialist role in New Zealand.


(File image) Photo: 123rf

Lucas Rakasz applied for specialist registration three years ago, but the council rejected it after the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons found his qualifications, experience and training were not sufficient.

Dr Rakasz has previously worked as a registrar under supervision for the Waikato District Health Board for two-and-a-half years.

He told Midday Report he had fulfilled the requirements to work unsupervised here and the Medical Council did not give any reasons why his application was turned down.

"They don't back up any of the decisions with reasons, they just say 'no' full stop," he said.

"First of all, I didn't have any other option to negotiate with MCNZ [Medical Council of New Zealand], there was no leeway left behind, there was no dialogue.

"The other most important thing is that I've seen there's a huge demand for neurosurgeons in the south of the South Island.

"People who have had injuries need to fly to Christchurch and their families need to drive their cars to Christchurch to see their loved ones from Dunedin, from Invercargill, from ski slopes in Queenstown or Wanaka. I don't think it's fair for those people and as a doctor, I pledged the Hippocratic Oath to fight for my patients."

Dr Rakasz is a registered neurosurgeon in the UK, has undergone two board exams for neurosurgery, and worked as a consultant neurosurgeon in the UK.

In a statement, Medical Council chairperson Curtis Walker said any overseas doctor was assessed to see if their qualification was equivalent to that of a New Zealand-trained doctor.

Dr Walker said Dr Rakasz's qualification was not comparable, so his bid was declined.

But the council subsequently revoked its decision and offered to have another panel look at the case, but Dr Rakasz declined, proceeding with the court case instead, he said.

Dr Rakasz said he did so because he no longer had faith in the organisation's processes.

Dr Walker said Dr Rakasz was still registered as a doctor in New Zealand in a general scope of practice and could therefore practise here in neurosurgery and hospital-based practice.