AMA welcomes Government plan to assess current medical student places as more than 200 medical graduates miss out on jobs

8 Feb 2017

After strong advocacy from the AMA and other doctors groups for the Government to have a greater focus on policies and programs to support medical students and graduates to work in regional and remote areas, the Government has announced it will not support any mew medical school places. Instead the Federal Health and Education Departments will carry out a stocktake of the current number and location of student medical places in Australia, with recommendations for change to be presented to Cabinet after April next year.

"We've expanded medical undergraduate places by over 100 per cent since 2001, because we had an absolute shortage, but now predictions are that we'll have 7,000 excess medical practitioners by 2030," said the now Assistant Minister for Health the Hon Dr David Gillespie in December last year.

This comes as news that more than 200 medical graduates from the class of 2017 have missed out on internships, leaving them stranded after years of study.

Chair of the AMA Council of Doctors in Training, Dr John Zorbas is adamant that as the number of medical graduates increase, expanding training capacity for junior doctors to undertake placements and work in regional areas is both logical and necessary. “Increasing numbers of medical graduates has made it even more competitive to obtain a vocational training place. Based on the experience of other rural training pipeline initiatives, vocational trainees working in regional hospitals are more likely to remain in practice in a regional location, and could offer significant benefits to their hospitals and regional community, particularly as they enter advanced training, if they could live and work in regional areas.”

Read more in Australian Medicine: More than 200 medical graduates miss out on jobs

Read AMA position statement on Regional Training Networks