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Members’ forum – 1 July 2013

Medical groups have condemned controversial proposals for the establishment of two new medical schools as irresponsible given unresolved concerns about a looming shortage of internships in coming years. Members agreed and voiced possible solutions to the rural workforce crisis.

Junior doctors cannot operate on their own. Therefore, in a rural setting, there are very few positions for junior doctors. The reason there are fewer doctors rurally is not because doctors are snobs, or city slickers or because we need more medical schools, but because the government has not provided suitable positions. A new graduate cannot just turn up and begin practicing. It is illegal for good reason – they are not experienced enough to deal with the huge variety and seriousness of conditions that arrive at rural hospitals.

If the government wants more rural doctors it needs to start with more jobs to be filled rurally.Creating medical schools rurally is useless/unethical if there isn’t a real plan to increase the capacity of rural teaching hospitals. Failing that, the new swathes of students will simply have to apply elsewhere if they are to ever complete their training. And many will not find one [a training position]. They may (rarely) be able to move overseas. But for locally trained Australians, without that position they are not a fully qualified doctor. The question that needs to be asked is why don’t senior doctors move rurally? If you can solve that, you can start producing more juniors.

by R (not verified)

The AMA slammed the Optometry Board of Australia over new rules that give optometrists the green light to treat glaucoma and other serious eye conditions without consulting ophthalmologists. AMA members agreed.

The Optometry Board is composed of optometrists and community members – do we really expect balanced opinions?
Why is this Board allowed to determine the scope of optometry practice?

Patrick Hanrahan (not verified) 

The Federal Government has committed to organising a summit on collaboration between doctors and midwives following AMA concerns about current proposals for collaborative care. Several readers disagreed with the AMA’s position, and expressed support for independent midwives.

What is the problem with enabling independent midwives? They are common in the UK, regulated by the same governing body as National Health Service practitioners, legally required to work to current Rules and Codes of Practice, and accountable for their practise. Twice referred to in this article as “undesirable”.
 by Sally French (not verified)