AMA urges Government to get serious about workforce planning

8 Feb 2017

The AMA has written to the Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, asking for the National Medical Training Advisory Network (NMTAN) to take a more strategic lead in providing robust workforce planning and policy advice.

AMA Vice President Dr Tony Bartone and Chair, AMA Council of Doctors in Training, Dr John Zorbas, represent the AMA on NMTAN.

“The Government faces significant medical workforce challenges. While the overall number of doctors is largely in balance, the distribution of the workforce remains a serious problem and some specialties remain in chronic undersupply” said Dr Zorbas.” We need better data and well-considered solutions to these issues, developed in collaboration with the profession. NMTAN is the only available forum to oversee this work, yet it is currently being wasted.”

The NMTAN was formed by the former Health Workforce Australia and more was recently absorbed into the Department of Health (DoH) as part of the 2014/15 Budget. While there is broad profession support for NMTAN, it has failed to live up to expectations. It has finalised only two medical workforce reports in the last year and, despite planning to complete up to seven other modelling studies by the end of 2016, the NMTAN Executive Committee has only seen the draft results of one of these studies.

The AMAs letter to the Minister has urged the Government to give NMTAN a real agenda to allow the broader medical profession to have structured input into medical workforce planning and policies to help deliver the workforce the community deserves.

NMTAN next meets on 17 February 2017.