Medical Training Review Panel: fifteenth report


Page last updated: 15 March 2012

The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP
Minister for Health
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Minister

In accordance with the requirements of subsection 3GC(4) of the Health Insurance Act 1973, I am pleased to submit to you the fifteenth report of the Medical Training Review Panel.

The report covers the three levels of medical training in Australia, providing data on all trainees in undergraduate, postgraduate and vocational training programs in the last year, 2011. It also provides information on graduates and college fellows for the previous year, 2010. Additional information on doctors who trained overseas and the countries in which they undertook their studies, who applied to and those who have been granted visas to work in Australia, are also included to provide a more complete picture of the supply of medical practitioners.

There are now over 16,000 medical students studying in Australian medical schools, with 3,770 commencing in 2011. This is over double the numbers of a decade ago.

In 2011, there were 2,723 trainees in their intern year and over 2,000 were in their second year of prevocational training. In addition there were 15,478 doctors who were working or training in an accredited vocational training position, post, facility or program and were seeking to specialise in one of the 23 recognised medical specialties. This is over 20,000 people undertaking some form of medical training primarily in the public hospital system.

In summary, the data within the report highlight the continued substantial increase in medical training that has occurred, particularly since 2006. This boost to the health workforce is key to addressing shortages in many parts of Australia, however, presents significant challenges for all involved in medical education and training as the numbers commencing medical studies and vocational training continue to grow.

The Medical Training Review Panel is constituted of representatives of the key stakeholders in medical workforce training and from 2012 will also include representatives from the Indigenous medical workforce, private hospital sector, Catholic Health Association and Health Workforce Australia. Together the membership brings knowledge of the various levels of training and different insights into the way medical education and training is being undertaken currently and how the system can deal with the challenges of not only ever increasing numbers of students and trainees, but producing the workforce trained in the areas needed and equipped with the skills necessary for the future.

The Panel is looking forward to continuing its work over the coming year focussing on key issues affecting medical education and training, as well as working with Health Workforce Australia to better understand Australia’s medical workforce needs, the supply and how to tailor medical education and training to ensure that the medical workforce is able to meet the needs of Australians by providing services when and where they are needed.

Yours sincerely

Kerry Flanagan
Medical Training Review Panel
24 February 2012