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Medical students call for $20m investment to be redirected from Curtin medical school to medical training positions

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) is calling on the Federal Government to scrap plans for the new Curtin medical school and redirect the funding into relieving the bottleneck in training positions for junior doctors.

AMSA President, James Lawler said Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s decision is short sighted and lacks understanding of the complexities of medical training.

“The number of medical students from Western Australia has tripled over the past decade.”

“Last year, the applications for General Practice training positions in Western Australia were oversubscribed by 84 places.

“This means that junior doctors are waiting to begin their training as GP’s but can’t due to the lack of training places available.

“AMSA recognises the doctor shortage affects Western Australia disproportionately, however the best way to address this issue is to ensure every individual that enters medical school is able to come out the other end and work as a fully-licensed doctor.

“In order to produce more doctors, an increase in the number of medical students must be coupled with a proportionate increase in vocational training positions for medical graduates.

“Medical students are a significant investment  – it costs the government over $100,000 to train each medical student. In order to get the best return on this investment, there must be enough training places for graduates to complete their training and serve the community effectively.

“Come Monday morning, medical students and doctors Australia-wide will be ringing up their local MPs to express their discontent.

“AMSA calls on government to redirect funding towards increasing positions in vocational training programs.”

Media Contact:

Maria Bilal

0416668091

publicrelations@amsa.org.au

Call your MP: Fix the Training Pipeline, Don’t Flood It.

AMSA Training Pipeline InfographicHow to contact your Federal MP

  1. Find your local MP here: http://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Members
  2. Look up their contact details for their local office (the lower house isn’t sitting this week, so Members of Parliament will be at home in their electorates)
  3. Call their office, and ask to speak to someone about the announcement of a new medical school in Western Australia, using the speaking points provided below.
  4. Add a summary of your phone call to the spreadsheet: http://amsa.co/AMSACallYourMP

Speaking Point 1 – Too many students, not enough education

  • I am disappointed/appalled/outraged/alarmed by the announcement of a new medical school in Perth.
  • Over the past decade, the number of students commencing medical studies in WA has more than tripled (107 in 2004 to 325 in 2015)
  • This has grossly stretched capacity in our training hospitals, diluting the learning experience for medical students.
  • How can this be safe? I want our future doctors to be well educated and competent. I also want the doctors teaching our students not to be overworked between teaching more students and treating more patients.
  • I implore you to reconsider this rash decision, review what is actually happening and ensure that our future doctors are receiving a quality education.

Speaking Point 2 – I’m worried there won’t be enough internships.

  • I am disappointed/appalled/outraged/alarmed by the announcement of a new medical school in Perth.
  • Over the past decade, the number of students commencing medical studies in WA has more than tripled from 107 in 2004 to 338 in 2015.
  • Last year I heard from my medical student friends that they’re concerned they wouldn’t get a job. Fortunately they managed to, but I hear on the East coast this is not the case.
  • In the east, they have too many medical students but not enough first year jobs for them to go to.
  • This is important; a medical degree without the accompanying first year of internship supervision is useless. It means they legally can’t work.
  • That’s our tax-payer’s dollars going into their university education that’s then wasted when there is no job for them.
  • We should learn from the mistakes of our East coast colleagues and stop this situation before it happens in WA. The new medical school should not open.

 

Speaking Point 3 – Bottleneck in the training pipeline

  • I am disappointed/appalled/outraged/alarmed by the announcement of a new medical school in Perth.
  • In the 2006, Tony Abbott as Health Minister increased medical student numbers. At no stage did progressive governments plan for the implications of this increase in the medical training pipeline.
  • Currently we’re in a training bottleneck. Last year in Western Australia, 84 Junior doctors missed out on a GP training position and 800 missed out nationally.
  • The Australia Future Health Workforce report predicts that we need another 1000 specialty positions to be funded and accredited to fill the training deficit that we’ll have by 2030.
  • The government should be investing in the training our medical students to become the doctors our community needs.

 

Speaking Point 4 – Solving our rural doctor shortage

  • I am disappointed/appalled/outraged/alarmed by the announcement of a new medical school in Perth.
  • Curtin medical school has argued there is a mandate for a new medical school to supply Australian trained doctors for rural Australia. However they have not fulfilled this mandate with their proposal.
  • There are two proven methods of improving the likelihood doctors will work in the country. Those are recruiting medical students from rural areas and supplying ample rural exposure during medical school. There is Australian research demonstrating this.
  • The proposed Curtin Medical School fails both methods. Their 20% rural intake target falls short of the 25% general medical school intake quotas already in place, and is well short of population parity, which would be around 1/3rd of medical students.
  • The Curtin medical school campus will be based in metropolitan Perth and has no solid plans for for rural experience in the curriculum – unlike the successful and oversubscribed Rural Clinical School program of UWA and Notre Dame.
  • The Curtin Medical School does nothing in terms of solving the shortage of doctors in rural and regional areas. Instead we should look to increasing training places for graduates to work in rural and remote areas in the hope that they will be the solution to our rural doctor shortage.

Medical students strongly oppose new medical school in WA

Media Release:

16 May 2015

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) expresses grave concern regarding the announcement of Curtin Medical School in Western Australia.

AMSA President James Lawler stated “The well-documented shortage of intern and speciality training places means increases in medical student numbers will not translate into an increase in the number of fully qualified doctors in the Australian health workforce.

“Regulating the total number of medical students is essential to avoid overwhelming Western Australia’s capacity to train doctors, or risk compromising the quality of teaching they receive.

“Australian medical schools must provide students with suitable exposure to an extensive range of medical specialties and clinical settings including public hospitals, rural clinics, community health care facilities, and general practice.

“Medical student numbers are at an all time high. As of 2014 there are 16,837 medical students – a 56% increase from 2006 numbers.

“Of note, medical graduates in WA have tripled from 107 domestic and international graduates in 2004, to a total of 337 graduates projected to graduate at the end of this year.

“There needs to be substantial evidence showing there is capacity to appropriately train any new students – as yet the WA Government has offered no supporting data.

“This announcement by the government suggests a serious lack of workforce planning, and appears to be driven by politics rather than public health.” said Mr Lawler.

“Ultimately, this is an issue of patient safety – increasing numbers of junior doctors, while compromising the quality of their education and training, poses a significant risk to public health.

“Opening up more medical schools without increasing clinical training sites is a short-sighted move and will create more problems than it solves.”

Media Contact:

Maria Bilal

0416 668 091

publicrelations@amsa.org.au

Follow AMSA on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/yourAMSA

Press Release: Medical students critical of fee deregulation stubbornness

 

Media Release | 13 May 2015

 

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) is strongly opposed to the Federal Government’s efforts to push fee deregulation, without compromise, in the 2015-2016 Budget.

From January 2016, the Government hopes to fully deregulate higher education fees, as well as decrease base funding for Commonwealth Supported Places by 20%.

AMSA President, James Lawler, stated, “These Higher Education reforms were proposed 12 months ago and, despite being blocked in the Senate since, the Government persists with them.

“Fee deregulation perpetuates inequitable access to medical tertiary education and it will ultimately mean less doctors for rural areas.

“In a deregulated system, medical degrees will leave students with debts of up to $250,000, as opposed to of $60,000.

“High student debt will deter students from pursuing careers in general practice and remote locations, two of the greatest areas of need in the Australian health workforce.

Mr. Lawler said, “The Budget’s focus on rural health is big step in the right direction.”

“It is unfortunate that fee deregulation will undermine any benefits that may come from financial incentives for doctors through the General Practice Rural Incentives Programme or the $20million funding over two years for the Royal Flying Doctors Service.

“Rural health was only able to become a focus in health funding when the co-payment proposal was abandoned – it’s time that the Government did the same with higher education.

“AMSA reiterates calls for the Federal Government to scrap fee deregulation, or significantly modify it to mandate a cap on student contribution to medical education. “

 

Media Contact:

Maria Bilal

0416668091

publicrelations@amsa.org.au

2015 Federal Budget – What you need to know

Higher Education

Deregulation – The Government is still planning to deregulate University fees by 1 January 2016. This is despite the fact that the relevant legislation has failed twice in the Senate over the past 12 months.

 

Commonwealth Supported Places contribution cut – Likewise, the Government is still planning to cut the Federal contribution to CSP places by 20%.

 

People with HELP debts working overseas – The government will be looking to recover money from people with HELP debts who are working overseas, who previously have not been required to repay HELP debts. Like all other Australians compulsory repayments will only occur when their income rises above $53,000,.

 

Health

Medicare Review – the Government will spend $34 million on a clinician led review of Medicare items. It is expecting to save $145 million on this review over the next four years.

 

Rural Scholarships for Medical Students – As per the Mason Review, the government will cease the Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship Program, and convert those places in future years to Bonded Medical Places.

 

General Practice Rural Incentives Program – New incentives for General Practitioners working in rural areas.

 

Immunizations – The “no jab, no pay” policy will ensure that those who refuse vaccinations do not receive welfare payments from government. This is expected to save $508 million over the next 4 years. The government will be re-investing $26 million into incentives for GPs to vaccinate children who are “late”, amongst other schemes to increase vaccination rates.

 

Medical Research Future Fund – This proposal entails a $20 billion fund which will provide dividends for medical research. This was originally funded by the co-payment proposal from last year’s budget (the latter has now been scrapped). The Government is still budgeting to contribute the same amount to this fund, although where this money will come from remains unclear. The fund will pay a dividend of $10 million in the next financial year.

 

Commonwealth Medical Internships – The Government is continuing their commitment to federal funding for internships for graduating medical students, with a particular focus on private hospitals and rural and regional settings. This funding only exists until 2016 for internships in 2017, however AMSA expects that the program will be reviewed before further investments can be made in this area.

 

Organ and Tissue Donation – There will be $10.2 million over the next two years for organ and tissue donation, with a focus on clinical education to hospitals, a new organ matching system and allowing the online registration of legal consent.

 

National Drug Campaign – The previously announced revival of the National Drug Campaign, with a particular focus on “ice”, has been funded – $20 million over the next two years.

 

E-health – The Government is reforming the current e-health system, and will focus on an “opt-out” system. This is going to cost $485 million.

 

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations – This has been a long term project of the Australian Government to develop culturally appropriate and relevant health care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. 1.4 billion dollars of funding have been provided fro the 2014/2015 budget year.

 

Other

Salary Packaging cap – Some salaried professionals from the public and not-for-profit sectors were previously able to sacrifice some of the salary pre-tax for ‘meal entertainment’ benefits, including holidays, cruises, weddings and meals and alcohol in restaurants. This includes junior doctors. These benefits will now be capped at $5,000 per year.

AMSA welcomes new measure to protect health of doctors

Media Release:

06 May 2015

 

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) welcomes the news of a national Doctors Health Service (DHS), to be jointly established by the Medical Board of Australia and the Australian Medical Association.

 

“The Doctors Health Service will be a national health program for both doctors and medical students in Australia, and is a huge step forward in improving the health of medical professionals nationwide”, said AMSA President, James Lawler.

 

“Previously services have not been consistently delivered and promoted, which has meant the health of doctors and medical students has often deteriorated unnoticed.

 

“This initiative will see nationally standardised services delivered to medical students and doctors in every State and Territory, ensuring accessibility and equitable delivery.

 

“The DHS will combine face-to-face health-related triage, advice and referral with telephone help-lines, online tools and appropriate resources to most effectively meet the needs of health professionals.

 

Mr Lawler noted “Investing in the health and wellbeing of doctors and medical students will have many positive follow-on effects for the community as healthy doctors are more effective carers for their patients. ”

 

“AMSA looks forward to playing an active role on the Doctors Health Service Expert Advisory Committee.

 

“This is an opportunity to ensure that available services match the specific needs of medical students, which will allow a particular focus on pressing mental health issues.

 

Prior to commencement of their degrees, the mental health of medical students is on par with general student population, however, studies show that as medical school progresses students begin to exhibit lower psychological well being than age-matched peers and the general population.

 

“Ultimately we, as future doctors, should always take of our personal well being, as it underpins the success of our careers. If we are to look after our patients’ health, we must look after our own health as well.”

 

 

Media Contact:

Maria Bilal

0416668091

publicrelations@amsa.org.au

 

Ticket Sales Open: The 2015 AMA Leadership Development Dinner

AMA Leadership

The AMA is honoured to have former Prime Minister, the Hon. Julia Gillard speaking at the 2015 Doctors in Training Leadership Development Dinner. The evening provides attendees with exclusive access to the Hon. Julia Gillard including a question and answer opportunity after Ms Gillard’s address. So don’t miss out!

  • Time: Friday 29 May, 7:30pm – 11:00pm
  • Location: Rydges Rooftop Bar, Brisbane
  • Dress: Smart Casual
  • Tickets: Medical Students and Doctors in Training: $135, Other tickets: $175

Register here.


 

The AMA is also offering Doctors in Training and medical students a Leadership Development Dinner package for only $275 which includes:

  • 1 ticket to attend the leadership development dinner
  • 1 day’s full attendance at the AMA 2015 National Conference on Saturday 30 May, including plenary session: General practice training – the future is in our hands
  • Meals throughout the day and conference satchel included

See the full program here


 

Proudly Sponsored:Avant_Logo

 

Press Release: AMSA Welcomes New Measure to Protect Health of Doctors

Press Release | 06 May 2015


 

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) welcomes the news of a national Doctors Health Service (DHS), to be jointly established by the Medical Board of Australia and the Australian Medical Association.

“The Doctors Health Service will be a national health program for both doctors and medical students in Australia, and is a huge step forward in improving the health of medical professionals nationwide”, said AMSA President, James Lawler.

“Previously services have not been consistently delivered and promoted, which has meant the health of doctors and medical students has often deteriorated unnoticed.

“This initiative will see nationally standardised services delivered to medical students and doctors in every State and Territory, ensuring accessibility and equitable delivery.

“The DHS will combine face-to-face health-related triage, advice and referral with telephone help-lines, online tools and appropriate resources to most effectively meet the needs of health professionals.

Mr Lawler noted “Investing in the health and wellbeing of doctors and medical students will have many positive follow-on effects for the community as healthy doctors are more effective carers for their patients. ”

“AMSA looks forward to playing an active role on the Doctors Health Service Expert Advisory Committee.

“This is an opportunity to ensure that available services match the specific needs of medical students, which will allow a particular focus on pressing mental health issues.

Prior to commencement of their degrees, the mental health of medical students is on par with general student population, however, studies show that as medical school progresses students begin to exhibit lower psychological well being than age-matched peers and the general population.

“Ultimately we, as future doctors, should always take of our personal well being, as it underpins the success of our careers. If we are to look after our patients’ health, we must look after our own health as well.”

Media Contact:
Maria Bilal
0416668091
publicrelations@amsa.org.au

 

AMSA Blog: The Evolution of the Doctor’s Bag

6 Doctor's bag banner

The Modern Medical Supplies and Equipment Kit, by MedShop


While traditional physician house calls are largely a thing of the past, most physicians still have a medical bag. Some carry it with them wherever they go, while others have it stored at the back of a closet somewhere.

Today however, it’s not only physicians who need to have medical equipment at the ready. Nurses and other allied health professionals provide home care and emergency care services now more than ever. This requires a portable kit of medical supplies and equipment.

What are today’s indispensable portable medical supplies?

For physicians: What’s in the bag?

  • A reflex hammer like a Queen Square or Taylor (or both) for testing neurological reflexes
  • A tuning fork
  • A stethoscope, classic or digital; it doesn’t matter as long as it works
  • A blood pressure cuff (sphygmomanometer) or portable machine; a sphygmomanometer can be as accurate or more accurate than digital machines, but the digital units can definitely be more convenient.
  • A magnifying glass for close examination of skin or small capillaries
  • A penlight to examine the mouth and throat, assess wounds and examine pupil response to light
  • Tongue depressors to examine the back of the throat and for application of topical treatments
  • Hand sanitizing gel to keep microbes at bay
  • One or more prescription pads to prescribe treatment

Nice to have:

  • A blood glucose monitoring kit for rapid diagnosis
  • Pocket ultrasound machine like a vScan that provides
  • A tablet device like an iPad or equivalent to explain anatomy to patients, to take and send photos to consulting specialists, and to show instructional videos to patients or students

For nurses on the go: What’s in the bag?

  • A stethoscope
  • Sphygmomanometer or blood pressure monitoring machine
  • Alcohol swabs, antiseptics and wound cleansers, protective gloves, bandage scissors, paper tape, and gauze for wound care
  • Small syringes
  • A sharps container for safe disposal of needles and disposable blades, and other safe waste disposal containers
  • Hand sanitizing gel
  • A penlight

Nice to have:

  • A blood glucose monitoring kit for diabetic patients, if permitted by the state or territory’s regulatory agency
  • A tablet device for demonstrating anatomy or showing videos to patients and for taking pictures to share with physicians or other care providers

In addition to the above, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers carry extra items based on personal preference, area of specialty and current field of practice. As a result of technological advancement, the contents of the bag will continue to evolve, though the basic tools remain the same, even as compared to a hundred years ago.

And how do healthcare professionals carry their medical supplies and equipment today?

Physicians in an office or hospital environment who still wear the quickly disappearing white coat, stuff their pockets with all they need. Those who travel between clinic, office, and hospital environments rarely use the leather bag of old. Today’s modern practitioner travels with a messenger bag or backpack with multiple compartments to keep gear organized.

Homecare nurses are concerned with controlling infection and thus often select bags made of special antimicrobial properties and surfaces that are easy to clean and disinfect.

The more portable and convenient the medical supplies and equipment a healthcare worker carries, the more time the practitioner has with the patient. The more time with the patient, the better for everyone.

Medshop Sponsored

Provided by Medshop Australia, a leading online medical supplier.

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