LOCAL DOCTORS: The State Government has a plan to attract more doctors like Dr Mark Edwards to live and work in the region.
LOCAL DOCTORS: The State Government has a plan to attract more doctors like Dr Mark Edwards to live and work in the region. Lisa Benoit ROK190515ldoctor1

Australian Medical Association not sold on CQ medical school

THE plan to allow local medical students to complete the entirety of their medical education within CQ is promising but the Australian Medical Association has their reservations.

On Wednesday, Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles joined key stakeholders including CQUniversity Australia, The University of Queensland, Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service and Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop and deliver a partnership to achieve a medical program in Central Queensland and Wide Bay.

Mr Miles said by having a CQ based medical program, medical students could complete their entire education in the region and be more likely to continue their work in a regional hospital.

"Our capacity to provide quality care and ensure patient safety into the future depends on the availability of a skilled workforce," a Queensland Health spokesperson said.

"Despite a continued focus on recruitment and retention, some regional and remote communities continue to experience shortages.

"This is an issue experienced by both the Wide Bay and Central Queensland Hospital and Health Services' (HHS). In fact, our regional areas have some of the highest numbers of locum doctors in the state."

The public health system currently pays a significant amount for FIFO specialist doctors to service the CQ region.

The spokesperson said countless studies have shown that the best way to keep doctors in the bush is to train them in the bush.

"This plan is not about creating extra medical student placements, it is about better allocating existing Commonwealth-supported medical school positions," they said.

The redirection of Commonwealth supported places (CSP) was expected to be geared towards supporting Queensland which has a comparative under-supply of places.

Australian Medical Association (AMA) Queensland Councillor Dr Bav Manoharan feared the redistribution of Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) for medical students from cities to the regions would lead to metropolitan universities enrolling more full-fee paying students

He said an increase in new doctors could overburden the health training system, creating a bottle neck of junior doctors trying to become fully-qualified specialists.

"Enhancing training programs, research and further educational opportunities along with making positive cultural changes to medical workplaces would lead to increased retention and a greater ability to recruit doctors to regional areas," Dr Manoharan said.

"We need to encourage our medical graduates to transition to local employees."