$150m for special medical training

20 March, 2015

The Specialist Training Programme and the Emergency Medicine Programme will have their funding extended for 2016, Minister for Health Sussan Ley has announced.

Ley said the Abbott Government would contribute over $150 million to the two programmes that have proven records in the successful training of the next generation of medical professionals.

"The Specialist Training Programme and the Emergency Medicine Programme are essential in Australians continuing to have access to a world-class health care system," Ley said.

"The Abbott Government is committed to continuing to support the development of a specialist workforce to meet Australia's future health needs."

Ley said the number of Specialist Training Programme posts had increased from 360 in 2010 to 900 in 2014. The programme allows the trainees to rotate through a number of settings – including rural, remote and private facilities – to ensure a diversity of experiences and to maximise professional development.

The $139 million investment for 2016 in the Specialist Training Programme, will benefit trainees from a range of specialties including psychiatry, general surgery, pathology, radiology, dermatology, obstetrics and gynaecology.

Ley said the $18 million investment in the Emergency Medicine Programme will assist to improve the level of care Australians receive when they present in an emergency situation.

"This training not only develops emergency physicians, but importantly also provides emergency medicine training for those doctors who may need to respond in an emergency situation, in particular those in country areas," Ley said.

"We know how important those first moments are in a medical emergency and this programme builds on the high quality of that care."

In addition to the funding security for these two training programmes, Ley also announced a consultation process would begin with colleges and other stakeholders about reforms to take place in 2017.

"This consultation will focus on in depth workforce planning to better match investments in training with identified specialties of potential shortage and areas that may be oversubscribed into the future," Ley said.

"Workforce planning is something that doctors and health professionals have been raising with me during my country-wide consultation to ensure those areas of expected shortages are addressed sooner rather than later."