Action 'urgently' needed on national medical training plan
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."