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Australia’s future doctors reject increase in medical student numbers

Media release                                                                  April 1st 2019


Australia’s future doctors are concerned about increasing medical students numbers and the potential impact on quality clinical placements in light of Central Queensland University’s proposal for a joint medical program with the University of Queensland.


The Central Queensland University proposal aims to acquire Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) that are being reallocated from existing medical schools to create rural clinical sites.


Australian Medical Student Association (AMSA) President, Ms Jessica Yang, expressed medical students’ concerns that this CSP allocation may have unintended consequences, “Loss of CSPs at existing medical schools are often replaced by greater numbers of international and domestic full-fee places at those schools.”


“Those outside the medical sphere think that this translates to more doctors, and particularly more doctors in areas of need, but with the training bottleneck between medical school and internship, we already see medical graduates left without jobs because hospitals do not have the places to train them.”


“With the current training models, doctors have to return to urban areas for vocational or pre-vocational training to meet the necessary requirements. This usually occurs at a crucial age when they are likely to anchor themselves to their location because they are having children, purchasing property, or have partners establishing their careers.


“Reallocating CSPs adds pressure to the wrong area of the training pathway.


AMSA, the peak representative body for Australia’s 17,000 medical students, regularly receives enquiries from international students reconsidering studying in Australia due to fears about internship security.


Aside from the training bottleneck additional medical students can create, AMSA is also concerned about how these increased numbers will affect the sustainability of under-resourced regional and rural campuses and the quality of training that will be offered in the newly-proposed CQU scheme.


Queensland Medical Student Council Co-President Conor Cusack stated that “Medical students in rural areas need to be properly supported and have access to the same learning opportunities that their urban counterparts will have.”


“There needs to be an extensive investigation into potential training sites for rural students to ensure the placement and the practitioners there will be able to facilitate the same learning outcomes a medical student anywhere needs, in order to be a safe and effective junior doctor.


“We cannot let the pressure of attempting to fill gaps in our health system compromise the quality care that all Australians deserve.” Mr Cusack stated.


Media contact

AMSA 2019 Public Relations Officer

Madeleine Goss