Medical students say more students is not the solution to Australia’s health crisis
5 May 2022
The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) strongly opposes the Group of Eight Universities’ recommendation for the incoming Government to fund 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 (1). This is due to an almost doubling of medical school places in Australia from 2,222 to 4,153 between 2006 and 2021 (2,3). “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.
Currently, there is no method to determine the number of medical students needed in Australia. As such, AMSA is calling on the Government to take leadership and, rather than wasting funds on an unsubstantiated and inapt solution, fund the recommendations in the National Medical Workforce Strategy. Specifically, supporting the proposed Data Strategy and advisory body to determine how many students are needed, where we need them trained, and where they will have jobs - a whole pipeline approach.
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.”
"It would be profoundly irresponsible for a Government to fund such a large number of new medical school places without adequate data, robust modelling, and consultation of stakeholders.”
“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.”
AMSA is the peak representative body for Australia’s 17,000 medical students. AMSA continues to call on the Government to take a whole pipeline approach to the medical workforce as outlined in the National Medical Workforce Strategy (2021-2031)
Jasmine Davis, AMSA President
0428 167 911
Katya Gvozdenko, Public Relations Officer
0490 099 561