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Our future medical workforce

Planning for, educating and supporting Australia and New Zealand’s future doctors is our members core business.  These will be the doctors to whom we entrust ourselves and those we care about when we are ill or need help with our health and wellbeing.

It is also recognised that the medical workforce we train shapes the health system we get and impacts patients’ access to health services.  It is vitally important therefore that we develop not only highly trained, committed and socially accountable doctors, but ones qualified in the disciplines and practising in the regions where they’re needed.

Medical Deans’ annual survey of medical graduates provides vital information and insights on our future doctors’ demographics, education, experience and career aspirations that helps to develop policies and initiatives to support the medical workforce we need.

Career interests of 2017’s medical graduates

Reflecting the ongoing work to encourage, develop and train graduates with an interest in future rural practice, latest data reveals that nearly 36% of medical graduates are looking to practice outside a capital city once they qualify. This number has been consistently growing, with a 2.1% increase from the previous year.

Increasing the opportunities for these rurally-inclined graduates to continue their medical studies and training in regional locations must be a priority for policy-makers across jurisdictions, building on the successful work of the rural clinical schools and the establishment of the Regional Training Hubs.

Medical graduates’ interest in teaching as part of their future career remains extremely high (over 85%) as does interest in research (63%) with 24% undecided.

An increasing number of graduates are interested in a career in Indigenous health with over 43% saying they wanted Indigenous health as part of their career.

Growing and supporting a medical workforce that meets community needs

In 2017 we saw 51 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students graduate, and 101 Māori. Whilst there is still an extremely low proportion of Indigenous doctors in our health workforce, the numbers are gradually growing.  It is also important that we build and nurture the Indigenous academic workforce, and this too is a key focus for Medical Deans through our LIME Network.

Medical Deans is represented on a range of committees, advisory groups and working groups that are focused on the future health workforce, including the Australian government’s National Medical Training Advisory Network, and have contributed a number of submissions to review and inquiries into relevant matters.