The Australian Medical Students' Association (AMSA) has welcomed the Coalition Government's recent election policies for health, in particular those focusing on medical workforce and training.
The Government is committing $145 million over four years for the provision of training positions in both general practice (a 50% increase to 900 positions by 2011) and specialist training (a 100% increase to 300 positions by 2011), as well as the 80% increase in the number of placements for junior doctors to rotate into general practice surgeries.
AMSA National President Mr. Rob Mitchell said, "I am pleased to see this plan for the training of the medical workforce. I particularly commend the government on their attention to general practice, and the expansion of junior doctor placements within the community environment.
"But what is missing is an allocation of quarantined capital grant funding for the expansion of undergraduate teaching in General Practice.
"The evidence suggests medical students must be exposed to an array of positive experiences in general practice early in their undergraduate training if we are to have any success in encouraging them towards General Practice as their choice of career."
"General Practitioners require capital grants to fund the implementation of a high-quality educational environment with resources such as textbooks and computers, and additional consulting rooms for students and training doctors," said Mr. Mitchell.
With a doubling in the number of medical students anticipated by the year 2012, financial and resource commitments cannot come at a more critical time. "We must be vigilant, not only in planning for the expanding workforce, but also in maintaining the high quality of medical education we deliver in this country - and that requires capital funding for undergraduate training in general practice."