The AMA has written to Health Minister, Tony Abbott, urging the Commonwealth to convince the States and Territories to include funding guarantees and performance benchmarks for medical training in the next round of Australian Health Care Agreement (AHCA) negotiations.
The current AHCA expires in 2008 and negotiations for the next agreement commence soon.
AMA President, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, said today that locking medical training commitments into the AHCAs, with agreed specific performance benchmarks, is the only way to ensure that the States and Territories meet promises made at the July 2006 Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting to provide extra training places for medical students and trainee doctors in public hospitals.
"If the States fail to create sufficient high quality training positions, the Commonwealth's significant investment in new medical school places will be wasted," Dr Haikerwal said.
"There is no point putting new medical students and trainees into the system if there are not the clinicians and resources available to teach them.
"During a recent AMA Forum, trainee doctors and representatives of the Australian Medical Students Association warned of a huge future shortage of quality training positions.
"It would be irresponsible to have our future doctors entering the health system with significant gaps in their knowledge and skills.
"All governments must put into action the spirit of the 2006 COAG Communiqué, which recognised the need for more clinical places, intern and vocational training positions are available into the future - and the best way to do that is by locking that commitment into all future AHCAs."
By 2013, 3400 intern places will be required. There are 1622 currently available. Similar increases in vocational training places will also be needed.