Medical Students View The NHHRC Interim Report As A Healthy Start, Australia

February 20, 2009 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) congratulates the National Health and Hospital Reform Commission on its interim report released on Monday.

The report highlighted the necessity of quality clinical education and guaranteed internship places to ensure the success of the future health workforce.

The Commission further recognised that this outcome can only be accomplished through quality clinical placements, and providing quality teaching. AMSA welcomes the urgent call for change in this area, as training supervisors and the construction of teaching facilities requires time and planning, and an increased level of support.

AMSA President, Tiffany Fulde said, “Providing the highest quality training must be a top priority in any healthcare reform agenda, in order to ensure the future health workforce is best able to serve Australia’s health needs. We are pleased that the Commission has acknowledged a problem that has been of concern to medical students for quite some time, and that they have shown some insight into how this should be addressed.”

Amongst other solutions, the report highlighted the need for increased support, setting the expansion of clinical education as a funding priority. AMSA is keen to discuss this issue with the Commission so as to assist in forming the most appropriate solution to the current shortfall of prevocational training places.

AMSA hopes that the improvement of inter-professional learning across the health professions will assist in improving teamwork around hospitals. “This relationship must begin by a more integrated educational environment,” said Ms Fulde.

AMSA also congratulates the Commission on recognising the current health disparities between rural and remote communities and their metropolitan counterparts, however, believes that more needs to be done to fix the gross maldistribution of the health workforce. This requires a greater number of high-quality training places and opportunities for medical students in rural and remote settings, as well as providing additional funding and support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health students.

Tiffany Fulde commented, “Australia requires real incentives to ensure that there is a future health workforce in rural and remote communities as currently the systems in place are failing to encourage sufficient medical students to take up rural careers when they graduate. We need programs which will not only attract local students back to the bush, but will also attract and retain metropolitan students.”

While AMSA does not advocate for a specific direction in healthcare governance or funding, we call for new funding arrangements to better align with education and training needs. Dedicated clinical training needs to be vastly better resourced and carefully implemented so as to deal with areas of workforce shortage.

For more information about clinical training places and rural and indigenous training places, go to

Australian Medical Students’ Association



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