The newly elected President of Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand has warned against politicians supporting new rural medical schools in the upcoming federal election campaign.
“What Australia does not need are more medical schools in an attempt to increase the number of doctors working in rural Australia,” says Professor Peter Smith, Dean of UNSW Medicine.
“What we do need are better training opportunities for doctors based in rural and regional areas, which would encourage them to stay in those areas where there are acknowledged doctor shortages,” he says.
This includes improving regional vocational training opportunities and offering more intern places in regional hospitals, says Professor Smith.
“We are strongly supportive of continuity of medical training in regional areas and we are keen to work with medical colleges to progress this so that people living outside the metropolitan centres have better access to general physicians, psychiatrists, surgeons and the like.”
Professor Smith says Australia now has a plentiful supply of new medical graduates, with numbers jumping sharply in recent years.
The Dean of UNSW Medicine, who was elected as President this week, says a priority of his two-year appointment is to continue Medical Deans’ work in Indigenous health.
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