AMA warns against radical changes to medical intern training

23 Jul 2015

AMA President, Professor Brian Owler, said today that there is no need to radically change the Australian model of medical intern training.

The AMA has lodged a submission in response to an options paper released by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council National Review of Medical Intern Training.

“The AMA urges caution on any proposed major changes to internship training for medical graduates,” Professor Owler said.

“There is no evidence to show that the current model of internship in Australia is ‘broken’, or that radical changes to its structure are required.

“Our submission highlights that the current model of intern training in Australia has served the community well.

“It gives new medical graduates a well-rounded, generalist, supervised, and protected introduction to medicine, which enables junior doctors to develop their medical skills and professionalism.

“Instead of sweeping changes, we need to build on what works.

“We support improvements to supervision and assessment processes, and expanding prevocational experience in non-traditional settings, such as the community and private settings, where there is evidence that these changes produce results.”

Professor Owler said the COAG Review is considering a range of options to reform intern training, from incremental change to more radical proposals such as a two-year prevocational training program or transferring the intern year into the last year of medical school.

“The Review shows there is a lack of data surrounding the quality and effectiveness of the intern year in preparing junior doctors for independent practice,” Professor Owler said.

“The AMA believes the Review must propose new systems to provide better information on the quality of medical intern training, the transition from medical school to intern training, and in the remaining prevocational and vocational training years.

“To support this approach, the AMA has recommended a national survey of medical training, similar to the survey that the General Medical Council undertakes in the United Kingdom.”

The AMA submission is at


23 July 2015

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