The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) has described as “simplistic” the Group of Eight (Go8) Universities’ recommendation for an additional 1,000 medical student Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs).
“The simplistic suggestion that increasing medical student numbers is a solution to the multi-faceted problems facing healthcare is false and irresponsible. Having more medical students will not fix the maldistribution of Australian doctors nor ease current workforce pressures,” AMSA President Ms Jasmine Davis highlighted.
Modelling by the Department of Health suggests that by 2030 we will have an oversupply of 7,000 doctors. This is due to an almost doubling of medical school places in Australia from 2,222 to 4,153 between 2006 and 2021.
“Over the last decade, we have seen a sharp increase in medical student numbers. Yet, this growth has been proven to be an ineffective method in increasing doctors in the areas and specialties we need them most – in rural and regional Australia, specialising in general practice and psychiatry,” Ms Davis claimed.
Ms Davis said, “There is a significant risk that increasing medical student numbers, without a proportional increase of internship places and specialty training positions, will detrimentally exacerbate the bottlenecks we have in training doctors in this country… What rural and regional Australians, and all Australians in need of better access to healthcare need, are long term solutions to our workforce maldistribution and shortages. Solutions that are evidence-based, and shown to work. Increasing medical student places is the exact opposite of this.”