Medical training must be priority for Health Ministers

21 Oct 2015

The AMA has written to Health Minister Sussan Ley urging her to make medical training a priority agenda item when she meets with the State and Territory Health Ministers in coming weeks.

The AMA understands that the Standing Committee On Health (SCoH) is scheduled to meet on Friday 6 November.

AMA President, Professor Brian Owler, said today that the threat of shortages of training positions for medical graduates – illustrated by news this week that large numbers of South Australian domestic medical graduates will miss out on internships from 2017 – could become a national crisis over the next few years.

Professor Owler said that reports suggest that 22 South Australian trained domestic graduates could miss out on local internships in 2017, and up to 39 in 2018.

“This comes on top of data from the former Health Workforce Australia that predicted a national shortfall of 569 first-year advanced specialist training places by 2018, rising to 689 places in 2024, and rising further to 1,011 places in 2030,” Professor Owler said.

“HWA demonstrated that, while Australia does not need to boost graduate numbers beyond current planned growth, it cannot afford to waste the investment that has been made in expanding medical school places in Australia to almost 3700 graduates at the end of this year.

“There is an urgent need to provide sufficient prevocational and vocational training places for medical graduates, with a particular emphasis on underserviced locations and under-supplied specialty areas.

“There is a sufficient number of medical graduates making their way through the training pipeline but, if our governments do not fund the required numbers of training places, we will see growing training bottlenecks and the community will not have the access to the medical care that it needs.

“Australia continues to be very reliant on international medical graduates. It is not acceptable for some governments to ignore the growing supply of local graduates, and the need to support them in progressing through the medical training pipeline to full specialist qualification.

“The AMA is calling on all Health Ministers to re-affirm past COAG commitments, and agree to work more closely together in the funding, planning, and coordination of medical training places.

“The Federal Government must show leadership on this issue,” Professor Owler said.


21 October 2015

CONTACT:        John Flannery                     02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761