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AMA representative appointed to National Medical Training Advisory Network

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The AMA will be directly involved in planning a nationally coordinated approach to the medical training system after a senior official was appointed to a key body advising on reform.

Chair of the AMA Council of Doctors in Training Dr James Churchill has been appointed to the National Medical Training Advisory Network (NMTAN) Executive Committee, which has been formed to produce a series of national medical training plans covering the span of medical training from university through to vocational training.

The formation of NMTAN was a key recommendation of Health Workforce Australia following its extensive review of the nation’s medical workforce, including projections of future demand for medical practitioners.

In its series of reports, under the collective title Health Workforce 2025, the HWA found that the nation’s fractured and complex training system undermined attempts to adequately plan doctor training to meet future community need.

“Planning of the Australian medical workforce is essential to ensure the local training and service requirements of jurisdictions, local hospital networks, and private and non-government employers are balanced with the training of doctors as a national health system resource,” HWA said. “The NMTAN is a mechanism that will enable, for the first time, a nationally coordinated medical training system in Australia.”

Dr Churchill said Health Workforce Australia’s Heath Workforce 2025 reports have heralded progress in medical workforce planning, and the NMTAN was an important step in translating the reports’ findings into recommendations and actions.

“For this group to succeed requires the buy-in of a range of stakeholders in medical training, including the profession,” Dr Churchill said. “The Council of Doctors in Training will be represented on the Executive Committee, and it is hoped NMTAN will prove effective in helping develop a sustainable and efficient medical training system.”

As part of its work, the Executive Committee will develop annual estimates for medical student intakes, internships, basic and advanced trainee positions by specialty and immigration requirements.

The Committee, which had its first meeting on 14 February and is expected to convene four times a year, has also been asked to advise HWA about the planning and coordination of medical training – advice which will then be conveyed to the nation’s health and education ministers.

Kirsty Waterford