AMA calls for more specialist training places not more medical schools

3 May 2017

AMA President Dr Michael Gannon, and AMSA Vice President Doug Roche have called for greater investment in specialist training places in rural centres to solve the rural doctor shortage.

Speaking on ABC radio, The World Today, on Wednesday 26 April 2017 Dr Gannon said an appropriate number of specialist training positions must be developed, and the quality of and the number of training positions in rural and regional areas enhanced wherever possible. “We need to give medical students and junior doctors, doctors in training, very positive experiences when they spend time in rural and regional areas,” Dr Gannon said.

“We've got a situation now where we're graduating well over 3500 medical students each year. Australia wants high-quality doctors, but to get there we've got to start looking at the specialist training programs, the GP training program, rather than just focussing on the universities and what they want to achieve.”

Mr Roche said that without any change in policy at the moment that doctors in training would be forced to go back to the city to train in particular specialties.

The AMA has been calling for investment in regional training networks since 2014 and for the high quality and flexible generalist and specialist rural training pathways targeted at the regional level. Dr John Zorbas Chair of the AMA Council of Doctors in training agrees. “Most efforts to address medical workforce maldistribution currently focus on medical school or doctors in established practice. Though excellent clinical training infrastructure and networks exist at an undergraduate level for example rural clinical schools and University departments of rural health, there are only a small number of coordinated rural training strategies during prevocational and vocational medical training,” Dr Zorbas said.

“Regional training networks offer a potential solution to improving medical workforce maldistribution by enhancing generalist and specialist training opportunities, and supporting prevocational and vocational trainees to live and work, in regional, rural and remote areas.”

Transcript, AMA President, World Today

AMA Position Statement on Regional Training Networks - 2014