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Members’ Forum

In the last edition of Australian Medicine, AMA Chair of Doctors in Training Dr Will Milford raised concerns about the conduct of some Medical Colleges in providing training, not least the imposition of unheralded and unexplained changes to accreditation. One AMA member shares his concern.
Many thanks for your article highlighting the concerns of many doctors-in-training regarding the impositions of Colleges placed upon trainees whilst undertaking training. These costs and impositions are not just necessarily financial, and I concur that Colleges have been not well versed in informing trainees of proposed curriculum changes in a timely fashion. I remain pessimistic that calling upon Colleges to increase transparency of fee structures will lead to greater satisfaction among their trainees. Unfortunately, the problem with trying to engage the Colleges in ‘improving transparency’ in their selection processes, fee structures and assessment processes is that this in itself increases the costs within the bureaucracy – and pushes up training costs even further! If anything, it is the increasing red tape that trainees have to negotiate through their training that inevitably leads to increased costs being imposed upon us – both pre-vocational doctors trying to get into training programs, as well as trainees – by the Colleges. I also doubt that “increasing competition” will occur anytime soon to break the ‘monopoly’ that organisations such as RACS have in training, and many Colleges continue to extract fees from their graduates well into their consultant years. I hope I can be proven wrong, and look forward to hearing more from AMACDT on their proposals and lobbying efforts.

Submitted by Xavier Yu (not verified) 

Artist and journalist Chips Mackinolty gave an insider’s view of Aboriginal health in the Northern Territory. One reader shares his enthusiasm about the use of shared electronic health records in the Northern Territory.

Nice article Mr Mackinolty. This is some encouraging news. As a paediatric registrar working in Alice Springs Hospital, I wholeheartedly advocate the use of the shared electronic health record. It is golden when a patient who comes in from the bush has one of these. When you ask the parents about other active and past medical problems in their child, the verbal history is often incomplete. This is no fault of their own and I am sure I would be the same if I had just been flown in with my sick child from Docker River (or anywhere else) at 2 o’clock in the morning. In a child with acute gastroenteritis and severe dehydration (common in our ward) – knowing what their weight was 3 weeks ago (when they were at the clinic getting their ears checked) is invaluable in their fluid management and treatment goals. Isn’t it nice when different communities and clinics can all get along and agree to use the same computer system for sharing useful information? It seems just plain ol’ common sense! The Northern Territory for one is getting on with it. Life is better when people agree for the greater good.

Submitted by John Gunn (not verified)

Late last year, the issue of doctors’ Right of Private Practice (RoPP) in public hospitals came into the media, as the Queensland Auditor-General undertook a performance audit of RoPP arrangements in the Queensland public health system. One member shares his opinion.

I’d have to take issue with [the comments of many others regarding this topic]. Many public doctors I know of are not working to full capacity at all, generally working in overstaffed units for three days a week then working in private practice “in their own time” to further enhance their already inflated salary and many perks. This has been at the expense of genuine private practitioners who pay half their salaries to run their practices, employ staff and don’t get the benefit of sick and study leave or subsidised superannuation. This enquiry is long overdue and it sickens me that AMA takes the stance that all doctors are virtuous, hard working and poorly remunerated. In my experience most public service doctors are not members of the AMA anyway.

Submitted by Hard pushed VMO (not verified)

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