AMA warns there must be no shortcuts in Scope of Practice Review

The AMA has told the Scope of Practice Review that it will not support “shortcuts” to remove so-called education and training “barriers” to tackle GP shortages because of the risk of decreased safety and worse patient outcomes.

The AMA’s submission to the review’s Issues Paper number 1 says it is critical that doctors’ concerns be addressed to help ensure they retain full confidence in and support for the review.

The submission says it’s important that any change builds on the strengths of Australia’s healthcare system, recognising the skills that different health care professions bring to patient care.

“Our members have raised a number of concerns and it’s critical the Scope of Practice Review provides a process to genuinely address the AMA’s concerns,” the submission says.

The AMA also rejects suggestions that all identified “barriers” are obstacles that should be removed because some of the so-called barriers provided safeguards.

“The maintenance of Australia’s high standards of education, training and supervision for all professions must be an objective of the review,” the submission says.

“We look at the example of general practice. Four to six years of medical school, at least two years of prevocational training, then another three years to five years as a registrar of one of the GP Colleges. This is a robust process which ensures that Australia has some of the best primary care doctors found anywhere in the world.

“While there is a current shortage of GPs in Australia, the AMA would never support proposals to compromise quality and safety, which could result in decreased safety and worse patient outcomes.”

The AMA’s submission provides constructive recommendations to address some of these concerns, such as principles to underpin any attempts to expand scope, and structures to ensure collaborative models are promoted.

Read the submission

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