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Australia needs more doctors in the bush; not another urban medical school

By | Monday, May 18th, 2015
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MEDIA RELEASE

18 May 2015

 Medical Deans is dismayed to see the Federal Government has committing public money to build a new urban medical school in Western Australia (WA) as announced by the Prime Minister yesterday.

The President of Medical Deans, Professor Peter Smith, says “this is a strange decision not based on the healthcare needs of Australia.”

The evidence suggests that at present we have the right number of doctors graduating in Australia to meet tomorrow’s needs. The problem confronting healthcare in Australia is that people living in rural and regional Australia have much poorer health outcomes than those living in the city, often due to an imbalance in provision of medical care. The answer is to train more medical students and doctors in regional Australia to correct this imbalance. The expensive establishment of another urban medical school is not going to address this problem.

Several medical schools have developed proposals to expand the rural recruitment and training of medical students and assist in the regional vocational training of doctors to address this problem for a fraction of the cost of the new city-based school but have been told “there is no money.”

Professor Smith said, “the answer to Australia’s rural and regional health problems is not the establishment of small, new, expensive urban medical schools, whether in WA or in other states. Medical Deans is ready to work with government to help address the unfairness in health outcomes for people in the bush.”

Medical Deans is the peak professional body representing entry-level medical education, training and research and is made up of the Deans of Australia’s 18 university medical schools and the two New Zealand schools.

More information, CEO – Professor Judy Searle 0498 138 035  or  Professor Peter Smith 02 9385 2451

 

Medical Workforce Facts

In 2014  3549 doctors graduated from 19 existing medical schools

In 2014  there were 3737 commencing medical students in Australia with 9.2% in WA schools

In 2014  the population in WA was 2.589M (10.98% of Australian population)

In 2013  there were 84,613 employed doctors in Australia, 8489 (10.03%) employed in WA

In 2013  nationally there were 364.9 employed doctors per FTE population compared to 349.0 doctors per FTE population in WA

In 2012  there were 2950 Intern places in Australia with 282 (9.6%) in WA

From the Medical Schools Outcomes Database survey (Response rates 50-60% of all interns)

In 2013     87% of medical graduates from WA medical schools took up an intern position in WA compared with 78% of NSW graduates and 57% of Tasmanian  graduates taking up internships in NSW and Tasmania respectively

Exciting Workforce Planning Development: Medical Schools Outcomes Database to realise its potential through data linkage

By | Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
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MEDIA RELEASE

6 May 2015

Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand (Medical Deans) today announced the signing of a new two year funding agreement with the Commonwealth Department of Health to take the Medical Schools Outcomes Database (MSOD) to its next stage as a significant workforce planning tool.

The President of Medical Deans, Professor Peter Smith congratulated the Australian Government and Minister Ley for the ongoing investment in this essential data set and the exciting new data linkage initiative.

The MSOD is an annual national data collection recruiting over 90% of medical students during their medical studies. MSOD was established in 2004 by Medical Deans as a pilot and followed by a full annual collection involving all Australian medical schools from 2005.

The national dataset has over 30,000 participants and this funding will now allow these medical students and junior doctors to be tracked along their medical career. This will be done by linking data collected in medical school (MSOD) to their time as an intern and then further into their vocational training. This is possible through cross agency collaborations with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency and the Commonwealth Department of Health.

The funding will also allow for new medical students in their final or penultimate year of medical studies to be recruited to the dataset each year.

‘Without the amazing support from our medical students we don’t have a dataset; we don’t have a way of demonstrating the essential determinants of where, what and how tomorrow’s doctors will work’, Professor Alison Jones, Chair of the project Steering Committee said.

‘This data linkage development will be the envy of many countries who, like Australia, attempt to plan their future health and medical workforce to meet tomorrow’s health care needs. We will be in a position to answer questions about what best predicts why doctors choose a career as a general practitioner or why some doctors want to go bush.’

‘Funding will also enable the development of a new medical workforce survey for junior doctors undertaking their intern year, a critical point in career decision making for doctors’, said Professor Jones.

Medical Deans is the peak professional body representing entry-level medical education, training and research and is made up of the Deans of Australia’s 18 university medical schools and the two New Zealand schools.

More information, CEO – Professor Judy Searle 0498 138 035

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