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Medical leaders want one body to set education standards for Doctors

By | Friday, April 13th, 2007
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Australia’s major biennial conference of medical training and accreditation bodies, MedEd 2007, has called unanimously for one authority to set standards for the training of Australia’s medical workforce. Currently there is a gap in accreditation for the years following graduation from medical schools.

Attendees representing all major medical training bodies at the medical education conference say the Australian Medical Council is the right body to oversee training and its reach should be extended to cover the “missing link” years, the postgraduate period before specialist training starts.

A recommendation will go to the Australian Health and Medical Council for the changes to be implemented within 12 months.

“If quality is to be maintained in an era where training doctors is more complicated and demanding than ever, oversight of training and accreditation must be seamless,” President of Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand Professor Allan Carmichael said.

“We believe the Australian Medical Council should accredit the postgraduate training years just as they accredit the undergraduate and specialist stages.

“There is now unanimous agreement among the key training bodies for this, and we will be asking the government to implement this seamless system without delay.”

The leaders agreed they wanted articulation across the continuum to be transparent and built on cooperation and partnership. There should also be accurate mapping of entry level competencies for the transitions between the different phases of training, for example the transition from undergraduate to internship.

They recommended a working party representing key stakeholders such as students, graduates, Medical Deans, the College of Presidents of Medical Colleges and the Confederation of Postgraduate Medical Education Councils be established to define the competencies required at the beginning of the intern year as its first task.

MedEd Conference: Gen X and Y prompt review of medical training

By | Monday, April 9th, 2007
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Medical graduates’ desire for work-life balance and greater flexibility in working hours has prompted a rethink of how doctors are trained, delegates to Australia’s biennial conference on medical education will hear this week.

The delegates to MedEd2007 – Australia’s leading medical education conference, organised by Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand will discuss the implications of social and generational change on future medical practice and recommend strategies to address them.

Associate Professor Simon Willcock, who will co-convene MedEd 2007’s ‘Making and Sustaining Good Doctors’ discussion says perceptions exist that recent medical graduates lack the work ethic of their predecessors.

“It has been suggested that junior doctors make career choices based on pragmatic factors, such as income expectations, working hours, length of training time and availability of part-time work, with sense of vocation being a secondary consideration,” Associate Professor Willcock says.

However young doctors have also grown up in an era where it is no longer the norm to accept traditional hierarchical systems without challenge, and where technical literacy has significantly altered the methods of delivering medical education, he says. “Work ethic is influenced by globalisation and the information economy, and there is a desire for work-life balance, an informal work environment and negotiated supervision, all of which contrast starkly with traditional work practices in the health system, which are based on a rigid, hierarchical model which actively promotes the postponement of personal need.”

There is acknowledgment by some providers of medical training that it is no longer possible to recruit and train undergraduates and new medical graduates and expect them to participate in traditional training and career pathways, Associate Professor Willcock says. “In an era when there is a shortage in the medical workforce, those disciplines and institutions that recognise and adapt their education and training systems accordingly will be more successful in adapting to change than those that adhere to established mechanisms.”

This adaptation would extend past clinical skills training to include the teaching and reinforcement of professional skills, including interpersonal negotiation, time management, personal health strategies and skills in education and supervision, he says. “Acquisition of these skills reduces professional burnout and negative psychosocial health outcomes in medical practitioners, improves retention rates within the profession, and enhances standards of patient care.”

Representatives from the peak industry bodies including the Australian Medical Students Association, Committee of Presidents of Australian Medical Colleges, Confederation of Postgraduate Medical Education Councils, the Department of Health and Ageing and Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand will participate in the MedEd 2007 discussions.

MedEd 2007 is being held at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne from 11-13 April.

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Ms Penny Fannin on +61 3 9696 3602 or 0417 125 700.

MedEd Conference: Australia’s medical workforce

By | Wednesday, April 4th, 2007
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Where and how best to train Australia’s medical workforce will be among the topics discussed when MedEd 2007, Australia’s second conference on medical education, is convened next week.

The biennial conference, first held in 2005, will this year have ‘seamless medical education’ as its focus. It has been organised by Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand in conjunction with the Australian Medical Council, the Committee of Presidents of Australian Medical Colleges and the Confederation of Postgraduate Medical Education Councils.

MedEd 2007 convenor Professor Paul Gatenby said delegates to the conference would participate in discussions on four topics – Making and Sustaining Good Doctors, Do we need Teaching Hospitals?, Organisation and Co-ordination of the Continuum (how to more effectively organize and coordinate the content and delivery of pre-vocational and vocational training) and Vertical Curricula (how to ensure a smooth transition from one stage of medical education and training to the next – an issue at the heart of the seamless medical education concept).

“The health sector in Australia and New Zealand is changing rapidly and the aim of MedEd is to make sure those who are providing medical education continue to produce a medical workforce that optimally meets the healthcare needs of the community,” Professor Gatenby said.

Organisations participating in the discussions will be the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association, Australian Medical Council, Australian Medical Students Association, Committee of Presidents of Australian Medical Colleges, Confederation of Postgraduate Medical Education Councils, Department of Health and Ageing, Medical Council of New Zealand and Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand.

The conference, being held at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne from 11-13 April, will be opened by the President of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal.

The keynote address on the opening morning will be delivered by Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, renal physician Professor John Horvath.

A keynote address will also be delivered by Professor John Campbell, who has been professor of geriatric medicine at Otago Medical School since 1984.

Professor Campbell has been a consultant physician with the Otago District Health Board since 1980. He has a particular clinical and research interest in geriatric medicine and between 1995 and 2005 Professor Campbell was dean of Otago University’s faculty of medicine.

What: MedEd 2007 – Seamless Medical Education Conference

Where: The Grand Hyatt Melbourne, 123 Collins Street, Melbourne

When: Wednesday 11 April – Friday 13 April, 2007

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Ms Penny Fannin on +61 3 9696 3602 or 0417 125 700.

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