Media release

GP trainees need assistance

AMA Queensland has released its Budget Submission, starting with calls for better funding for GPs.

AMA Queensland is urging the Queensland Government to follow the lead of Tasmania and Victoria and offer financial incentives for doctors to train as GPs to head off a looming workforce crisis.

The call is made in the AMA Queensland Budget Submission 2024-25.

“We are heading towards a cliff in our general practice workforce,” AMA Queensland President Dr Maria Boulton said.

“Forty years ago, about 50 per cent of medical school graduates chose general practice as their specialty. Today it is less than 15 per cent.

“Those GPs who trained in the 1980s are now planning to move to part-time work or retire, and we do not have the new workforce to replace them.

“At the same time, we are seeing greater demand for GPs as Queenslanders are living longer with more chronic conditions that GPs are experts in treating.

“GPs are the highest trained general medical practitioners. It can take up to 15 years to train and Fellow as a GP.

“However, junior doctors who choose general practice face a substantial pay cut in their training years compared to their colleagues. They also lose access to leave entitlements that hospital doctors get.

“At the same time, there is increasing competition from other states and territories for healthcare workers.

“The Victorian Government has addressed the need to train more GPs with $40,000 grants to trainee doctors who enrol in a general practice training course.

“The newly re-elected Tasmanian Government has promised to pick up HECS/HELP debt of up to $100,000 to attract 40 new GPs to work in rural and regional areas.

“We need the Queensland Government to do the same and compensate junior doctors who make a huge financial sacrifice to train as GPs. Many junior doctors want to become GPs but the costs stop them following their dream.

“We must do everything we can to increase the number of graduates choosing general practice so all Queenslanders have access to best practice primary care and preventative health.

“GPs keep people well and out of hospital. They are the first port of call for people with mental health concerns. In rural areas they provide antenatal care, anaesthetics and more.

“It is a wonderful career and such a privilege to care for multiple generations of the same family.

“We need to ensure that we have GPs in all communities. This requires long-term sustainable solutions that keep general practices viable in our regional communities, not Band-aid fixes that outsource GPs’ work to less-trained healthcare workers, putting patient care at risk.

“The Queensland Government is piloting a single employer model for GP Registrars and we will be monitoring this closely to see if it delivers better outcomes for trainee GPs.

“We welcome the Queensland Government’s commitment to funding training for 50 GPs to upskill in obstetrics and anaesthetics, which will help retain our GP workforce in regional areas.

“However, this is an election year and we will be watching closely the promises and policies from all sides.

“This is a critical budget for Queensland’s healthcare system and we must see substantial investments in our workforce.”

The AMA Queensland Budget Submission 2024-25 is available here.


  • The 2023 Medical Deans Survey found general practice was the preferred future specialty for 13 per cent of medical students.
  • A medical graduate –who has most likely also completed an undergraduate degree before their medical degree - can enter community GP training after two years of hospital training.
  • The base salary for a GP Registrar with two years of hospital training is well below the base salary for their colleagues who remain in the hospital system.
  • The Victorian Government is offering GP Trainee Grants of $40,000 grants over two years to increase the number of GP trainee enrolments in 2024 and 2025.
  • The Tasmanian Government has promised to pay up to $100,000 of student debt for 40 GPs who relocate to regional areas.
  • Under AMA Queensland’s proposal, 400 trainees would be offered a top-up payment for first-year trainees of $30,000 and $10,000 to support the costs of exams during GP training.

Related topics