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Latest Snapshot of Who Will be Australia’s Next Doctors

By | Wednesday, August 16th, 2017
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Media Release
16 August 2017

The latest report from Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand provides a snapshot into what Australia’s medical profession will look like in coming years. The annual Workforce Data Report details the number of students starting and finishing their medical degrees as well as a breakdown by gender, the number of Indigenous students and international students.

This year the Report is even more important as it provides baseline data into Australian medical schools in the lead up to proposed government funding cuts to universities, expected to raise the average medical course costs by $6000.

The Report, which collates data provided by each of the nation’s 20 university medical schools, found that 3853 students began their medical degrees in Australia this year, an increase of 25 students over the previous year. The majority of students, 3211, starting their medical degree this year are Australian with 642 or almost 17% international students, a figure that has remained stable over the past three years.

The Report also details the number of medical graduates expected to join the workforce this year. In 2017 Australia is predicted to graduate 3567 doctors (3086 domestic and 481 international). Based on previous trends it can be projected that a 1-3% attrition rate is expected in the final year of study to actual graduation.

Over the past decade the number of medical school graduates has doubled however specialist training positions have not increased at the same rate. The report “Australia’s Future Health Workforce – Doctors” predicts the shortfall between the number of specialist training positions and graduates seeking them will be 569 in 2018.

Medical Deans President Professor Richard Murray said

“The gap between the number of medical graduates and specialist training positions opens up opportunities to develop workforce models more closely aligned with community needs, particularly regionally based general practice and generalist specialty training programmes. This would provide significant benefits for rural health care and better respond to the increasing burden of chronic disease in an ageing population.”

The Report also found that:

 + In 2016, 35 Indigenous doctors graduated from medical programs in Australia, an increase of 133% over the last 5 years (since 2011).

 + There were 77 Maori graduate doctors from New Zealand schools in 2016 (which was an increase of 157% from 2011).

 + In 2017 in Australia 51.9% of commencing medical students were female compared with 58.7% of commencing female medical students in New Zealand schools.

 + In 2016 8% of Australian domestic graduates came from NSW/ACT medical schools, which is a decline of 3.7% from 2015. This was followed by Australian domestic graduates coming from VIC (24.2%) and QLD (22.2%) medical schools.

Contact:          Carmel Tebbutt, CEO, Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand

                         02 80846557

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