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Mon, 5 Jun 2017

Medical Dean calls for doctor training re-think

Med students

The Dean of James Cook University’s College of Medicine and Dentistry is calling for an overhaul of medical training and a reassessment of the training’s goals.

JCU’s Professor Richard Murray has put forward the argument in an editorial in the latest issue of the Medical Journal of Australia.

Along with co-author Professor Andrew Wilson from The University of Sydney, Professor Murray says there is a broader perspective needed when judging the work-readiness of medical graduates.

“Regional Australia remains heavily reliant on importing medical labour, while domestic graduates jostle for internships and specialist training positions in the cities,” he said.

Dr Murray said that 2820 visas were issued to foreign-born doctors in the 2014-15 year, despite the number of medical schools in Australia doubling since the early 2000s and the number of graduates almost tripling.

He called for a more equitable geographic distribution of specialist medical training, a bolstering of clinical generalism, an emphasis on teamwork, and selection for further training on the basis of a candidate’s intention to serve community needs.

Dr Murray said work-readiness also needed to be judged on how graduates met the changing demographic needs of the community.

“We need to look at whether training is producing sufficient numbers of clinicians aligned with community needs for integrated, person-centred, affordable health services for an ageing population that is experiencing higher levels of chronic disease,” he said.

Dr Murray said rural training sites, including those operated by JCU, are at the cutting-edge of needed reform.

“They offer community-engaged medical education, longer, integrated clinical placements, and inter-professional learning. It’s resulted in some solid workforce outcomes,” he said.


Professor Richard Murray
P: (07) 4781 5025
E: deancmd@jcu.edu.au