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Doubts over value of MD program

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Critics have questioned the value of the University of Sydney’s flagship Doctor of Medicine (MD) program, due to commence next year.

The program, accredited by the Australian Medical Council, will give postgraduate medical students opportunities to improve their research experience.

It is a four-year professional postgraduate entry course, which aims to ensure excellent clinical skills and preparedness for practice, give first-hand experience in research, and provide experience and awareness of health in an international setting.

In the first and second year, students will receive clinical training on campus and in their clinical schools.

In the final two years, however, training will be conducted in a variety of settings including hospitals in community, metropolitan, urban, and rural areas.

Topics covered in the curriculum will include basic and clinical services, patient and doctor, population medicine, and personal and professional development.

But there are concerns that students will be lured into undertaking the course for little additional benefit compared with existing programs.

Even though the MD program will allow students to expand their research experience, there is scepticism that it is qualitatively different to existing MBBS programs.

Australian Medical Students’ Association President Mr Ben Veness said he did not view the MD program as a worthwhile innovation, arguing that current MBBS programs offered a very positive and holistic university experience.

“It unfairly suggests the MBBS degrees do not have the same [clinical] quality as the MD, but the only difference is that the MD requires an extra level of research exposure,” he said.

Sanja Novakovic