Medical Students call for immediate solutions to
Australia’s intensifying rural doctor shortages
16th February 2022
The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) and Queensland Medical Student
Council (QLDMSC) call upon the federal government and Australian medical schools to
take immediate action in long-term evidence-based solutions to address Australia’s
intensifying rural doctor shortages in light of the emerging maternity care crisis in regional
and remote Queensland.
Regional and rural communities in Queensland are experiencing serious deficits in
obstetric and generalist care over the last year leaving expectant parents in the region in
distress over accessibility to basic healthcare.1
“The severe and emerging obstetric and rural doctor shortage in Queensland is yet another
horrifying symptom of a national system-wide workforce planning failure,” Tish
Sivagnanan, President of AMSA said.
“Despite a two-fold increase in medical school places in the last decade, Australia is still
battling severe maldistribution and critical shortages of doctors in rural and regional areas,
as well as specialist general practitioners and psychiatrists,” said Khue Le, Chair of AMSA
“The QLDMSC firmly stands with the AMAQ in their latest call for not only a focus on
evidenced-based recruitment and retention initiatives in medical schools to serve
Australia’s regional, rural and remote communities, but also a strong foundational focus on
medical practitioner wellbeing,” Alexandra Wilson, Chair of QLDMSC said.
AMSA and QLDMSC call upon the Federal Government to refrain from arbitrarily funding
short-sighted and ineffective solutions, and instead fund the recommendations of the
National Medical Workforce Strategy and the AMSA General Practice Roundtable Report,
- A national medical workforce data strategy to conduct research into the
distribution of the medical workforce.
- Tying Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) at universities to outcomes of
producing an increased generalist, rural and mental health workforce.
- Only endorse the increase of CSPs where there is a commensurate increase in
federally funded specialty training positions, and modelling determining it will not
exacerbate existing bottlenecks in the medical training pipeline.
AMSA and QLDMSC calls upon Australian medical schools to act immediately to:
- Prioritise assessing medical school applicants on qualities and interests attributed
with increased intention and likelihood of practising rurally or undertaking general
- Increase recruitment and retention of rural-origin and Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander medical students.
- Ensure sufficient and quality exposure to general practice, rural generalism and
psychiatry within the medical curriculum.
AMSA is the peak representative body for Australia’s 18,000 medical students. AMSA
continues to call on the Federal Government to take an evidence-based and sustainable
approach to the medical workforce as outlined in the National Medical Workforce Strategy
The Queensland Medical Student Council (QLDMSC) is the peak representative body for
the 4,000 medical students and 4 medical schools across the state, and works directly with
AMSA to advocate for medical student and public health outcomes.
Tish Sivagnanan, AMSA President
0433 446 220
Alexandra Wilson, Chair of Queensland Medical Student Council
0437 640 236
Mihan De Silva, Public Relations Officer
0406 944 567