Clinical training fund welcome, need more resources

17 December, 2009

The AMA welcomes a recent announcement that funding to support clinical training, which was agreed at the November 2008 COAG meeting, will now start to flow.

AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said this initial round of funding is urgently needed and is a good
start to addressing the training needs of Australia’s future medical workforce.

Medical student numbers are growing rapidly. In 2007, there were 1,544 domestic medical graduates,
an increase of 22 per cent from 2003.

This is projected to increase to 2,920 graduates by 2012. Dr Pesce said Australia currently does not have the teaching resources in place to cope with the increase in student numbers.

"Our health system cannot afford to lose doctors because of a lack of training opportunities and poorly
supported training environments," Dr Pesce said.

"Public hospital medical training is at breaking point now, and there is the risk it will collapse under the
weight of the greater numbers of medical graduates in the system.

"The funding announced will largely be focused on undergraduate clinical training, but medical
training does not stop at the University gate.

"The Government must now look at expanding the number of training places for pre-vocational doctors
and specialists.

"The AMA estimates that, without further support, there will be a deficit of over 1500 intern places in

"We have written to Minister Roxon urging her to use the new Health Workforce Australia (HWA)
organisation to provide specific extra support for pre-vocational and specialist training."

The AMA proposal to the Minister covers:
  • Dedicated teaching and training time for senior clinicians,
  • Development of more innovative training for interns,
  • Professional development programs to enhance the teaching capacity of junior doctors, and
  • Pre-vocational training positions in community settings.
"We note the recent appointment of Mark Cormack as CEO of Health Workforce Australia, and the
AMA is keen to work with him and his team to ensure Australia's medical training needs for the future
are properly planned and met," Dr Pesce said.
Source: Australian Medical Association