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Student changes aimed at increasing rural doctor numbers


Matt Woodley


24/09/2019 3:51:53 PM

The Federal Government will redistribute 60 Commonwealth-supported places to medical schools at regional universities from 2021.

Dan Tehan
‘We need more doctors working in regional Australia,’ Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan said.

The move, announced by Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan, is part of the Stronger Rural Health Strategy and will see more students undertake training in regional locations.
 
‘We need more doctors working in regional Australia,’ Minister Tehan said.
 
‘Our government is tackling this problem from multiple angles ... we need flexibility in our higher education system to ensure we get the right medical professionals with the right skills into the regional areas where they are needed most.’
 
The announcement coincided with the release of a discussion paper, which is seeking feedback on the best way implement the pool of medical places with a focus on medical workforce priorities.
 
‘Ongoing shortages of doctors in regional, rural and remote communities around Australia are likely to persist, indicating a need for new policy responses,’ the discussion paper states.
 
‘The Government is establishing a small pool of medical CSPs [Commonwealth-supported places] drawn from existing university allocations to provide it with flexibility to support key Government health workforce priorities as they emerge.
 
‘The policy priority for the first redistribution pool round for 2021 is to help build the rural and regional medical workforce.’
 
Department of Health national modelling has predicted there will be a potential oversupply of around 7000 doctors by 2030, resulting in a shortage of more than 1000 medical specialist training places. Yet, unless change is enacted, this is unlikely to aid rural doctor shortages, as the same modelling predicts an imbalance in the distribution of the medical workforce across geography and specialities.
 
Part of the Stronger Rural Health Strategy also includes the creation of an additional 100 GP training places from 2021 to support rural generalist postgraduate medical training.
 
The discussion paper has requested sector feedback on three proposed options for managing the initial redistribution process, and will seek input to establish specific policy criteria and parameters.
 
Stakeholder feedback closes on 25 October and the Department of Education is expected to provide final advice on the redistribution pool mechanism to the Minister for Education by the end of November.



medical training rural Stronger Rural Health Strategy



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