Federal Budget announces medical school places without investment downstream

The Federal Budget 2022-23 announced 80 new Commonwealth Supported medical school places attached to medical schools with rural campuses but has failed to deliver on any investment in training places further down the pipeline.

“If we are going to invest in medical school places, we need to make an equal investment in prevocational and vocational training places in rural areas so doctors can continue to live, work and train in these areas after medical school,” said Dr Hash Abdeen, Chair, AMA Council of Doctors in Training.

“We welcome ongoing funding to continue the Specialist Training Program but need a commitment to create rural specialist training places, infrastructure, and incentives to support rural medical training and practice. Otherwise, if there are no training places doctors in training will return to the city.

“We need real investment and incentives to support access to care. We are concerned that the implementation of the National Rural Generalist Pathway has stalled and young doctors do not want to enter general practice full stop, let alone in rural and regional areas.”

The AMA is calling on stakeholders to: 

  1. Develop, implement, pilot, and evaluate end-to-end rural medical training programs to ensure they provide positive rural exposure, leading to retention of rural medical practitioners.  
  2. Invest in regional teaching, training and research hospital hubs and service networks to grow training capacity outside metropolitan areas and support rurally based careers.  
  3. Increase the available infrastructure, resources, and supervision to support prevocational and specialist training in rural areas.  
  4. Expand the Commonwealth Government’s Specialist Training Program (STP) to 1700 places giving priority to rural areas, generalist training and specialties that are under-supplied.  
  5. Commit to the rollout of the National Rural Generalist Pathway nationally, with fair remuneration, support, and no loss of entitlements for trainees.  
  6. Expand capacity for remote learning, training, and educational opportunities for trainees in regional/rural sites, including the potential for remote supervision.  
  7. Encourage and support specialist medical colleges to offer more generalist training places for trainees.  

Read more about the Budget 2022-23 here

Read AMAs Pre-Budget Submission 2022-2023 here