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AMA plan gives junior doctors the chance to stay rural

16 Jan 2018

Media Release
Tuesday, 16 January 2018


AMA plan gives junior doctors the chance to stay rural


The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA), the peak representative body for
Australia’s 17,000 medical students, today backed the AMA’s Rural Workforce Initiatives
plan and called for its rapid adoption.
Candice Day, from the AMSA Rural Health Committee, said: “As a medical student with the
ambition to work in the bush, I am excited to see such a comprehensive plan, addressing the
rural workforce shortage at all stages of the training pipeline, not just the start.”
Ms Day said that the primary issue for junior doctors in rural areas is a lack of postgraduate
training positions.
“Rural hospitals lack opportunities for students to complete specialist training. Even after
completing a rural internship, I will still have to return to the city to train further, just at the
time of my life when I hope to be starting a family and settling down,” she said.
AMSA supports the plan to increase the proportion of students from rural backgrounds and the
proportion of time spent in rural areas during medical school, but emphasises that focusing on
students is not the whole solution.
“The best bang for your buck is to invest in keeping junior doctors rural after internship,” Ms
Day said.
“Junior doctors are ready to start rural training now.”
In a recent AMSA survey of more than 1500 students, 70 per cent were interested in working
in regional, rural or remote areas. In 2017, there were more than 100 applications for 16
internship positions in the rural New South Wales centre of Orange.
“There is already a lot of interest in rural practice from medical students, but there are still
barriers. We need to focus on ways to allow junior doctors to come here and to stay,” Ms Day
said.
“The key is keeping junior doctors in the country after internship by giving them the
opportunity to train to be specialists, GPs, or rural generalists in rural hospitals.”
Importantly, neither the AMA nor AMSA supports the establishment of a new medical school
in the Murray Darling basin.
AMSA, the AMA, and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) oppose an
increase in student numbers, and the use of Government funding to create yet another new
medical school.
“We all agree, more medical schools are not the solution to rural medical workforce
maldistribution,” Ms Day said.


Media Contact:
Candice Day
Australian Medical Students’ Association Rural Health Committee
Email: candice.day@amsa.org.au
Phone: 0466 252 884
  


Published: 16 Jan 2018