Targeted recruitment in the health systems to meet the special needs of patients has never been a high priority. The assumption has normally been that any health professional, working in conjunction with a trained interpreter, can adequately service a patient of non-English speaking background with or without low proficiency in English.

Many articles and submissions have alerted governments to the need for more sensitive and targeted recruitment and workforce planning and more effective human resource development and management. But evaluations of migrant health services carried out in 1993 highlighted again the inadequacies in these areas.

The options are to train workers in Australia, recruit or recognise appropriate biculturall bilingual health workers from overseas or a combination of all of these.