In 2007, Medical Deans was commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing to conduct a national review of clinical training in Australian medical schools. The review was conducted in the context of the then rapid expansion of both the numbers of medical schools and medical students and the impact of this expansion on the provision of quality clinical training for medical students. A comprehensive review was conducted over a period of six months from late 2007-early 2008, with further analysis of specific areas of constraint being undertaken in mid- 2008. A range of data was collected from each medical school including student numbers, structure and content of clinical training programs, organisation of placements and rotations, clinical training sites and capacities and state health department initiatives to address capacity.
The review found that the existing capacity in all settings was concerning, and was critical in certain specialties including paediatrics, emergency medicine, general practice and psychiatry. The review concluded that if medical schools were to provide quality and sustainable clinical training for their students, a number of barriers to expanding capacity needed to be overcome, including:
- Identification of appropriate training settings in traditional and new environments
- Availability of suitably trained health professionals to supervise clinical placements
- Appropriate infrastructure to support medical education in clinical settings
- A culture of service delivery which values teaching in clinical practice