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Action 'urgently' needed on national medical training plan

23 October, 2013

The AMA Council of Doctors in Training (AMACDT) is urging Australian health ministers to agree to start work on a new national medical training plan when they meet in November.

The proposed national plan was one of the major topics discussed by junior doctors and medical students when the AMACDT met in Canberra recently.

Professor Geoffrey Dobb, AMA vice president, said that the need for a national plan was emphasised during AMACDT discussions about current bottlenecks for training positions for junior doctors, including for resident medical officer (RMO) positions in State and Territory health systems.

Professor Dobb said the recent experience in Tasmania, where it is understood that around 20 interns and RMOs have been unable to secure training places in 2014, highlights the training pipeline crisis facing Australia's future medical workforce and the community.

"All Australian governments are struggling to provide sufficient prevocational and specialist training places to match the very significant growth in medical school places since 2004," Professor Dobb said.

"The Health Workforce Australia (HWA) Health Workforce 2025 report last year warned that Australia needed to increase prevocational and specialist training places for doctors if the medical workforce is to meet future community need.

"The report also highlighted that Australia would face growing shortages in these essential medical training places unless more funding was provided, medical workforce planning was improved, and steps were taken to improve the coordination of the medical training pipeline.

"The AMA and the AMACDT support HWA proposals to establish the National Medical Training Advisory Network (NMTAN) and develop five-year national medical training plans.

"We understand these proposals will be on the agenda at next month's health ministers' meeting, and the AMA and the AMACDT urge all governments to adopt both proposals and start work on them straight away.

"A national medical training plan was first promised to be delivered by the end of 2011, and we are still waiting.

"The Australian community cannot afford any more delays with this important work."

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Dr Rosie Jones | Thursday, October 24, 2013, 1:43 PM
I'm about as far away and out of Medical Training as it possible to be and thankful about that! I have all of 1702 referring GP's and as I record the names I'm impressed at the number of 'foreign' names- of course I am foreign myself having been English born. The patients are not always satisfied with the communication skills of these immigrant doctors but I hasten to say usually satisfied by the quality of medical skills. It does set me to wonder how it is that we don't seem to have many Australian born and trained GP's coming into the system. It's not so much that the new arrivals are not welcome but what has happened to the care of the communities that they have left behind? Isn't it somewhat 'greedy' of us to take in this medical workforce when the health needs of their countries are so much greater than ours? Dr Rosie Jones
Goldcoaster | Monday, October 28, 2013, 6:03 PM
The soon to arrive huge wave of medical graduates from all the new medical schools and the increasing class sizes in established medical schools poses major problems. If these young doctors (well mostly young) are to avoid years and years of sitting around in hospital MO positions (or worse sitting on the unemployed ranks) waiting for limited places in specialist training programs so that they can have a path to independent practice, we need a huge expansion of training positions in private sector settings, especially in the private practice offices of specialists - the way trainees in general practice are offered experience. Funding will be a problem as the vast majority of registrar training positions are currently only in the public sector. But this problem has been overcome in the training of GP registrars in private GP practice so why would it not be possible for this to happen for registrar training in the specialist private sector?