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In accordance with the requirements of subsection 3GC(4) of the Health Insurance Act 1973, I am pleased to submit to you the nineteenth report of the Medical Training Review Panel (MTRP).
The report covers the three levels of medical training in Australia, providing data on all trainees in undergraduate, postgraduate and vocational training programs in 2015. It also provides information on graduates and college fellows for 2014. Additional information on doctors who were trained overseas, their education level and the countries in which they undertook their studies is also included.
Data were provided by the Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand Inc., state and territory health departments through their postgraduate medical councils, specialist medical colleges and the Australian Medical Council. Selected administrative data from the Australian Government Department of Health and the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection are also documented in the report.
Australians have access to a world-class health care system that is the envy of many other countries. One of the keys to this success is that patients have access to a highly motivated and skilled medical workforce working in hospital and community settings, and general practice.
The MTRP 19th report presents a comprehensive picture of medical education and training in our country and the supply of medical practitioners from overseas.
Medical workforce training in Australia follows independently set standards that require students, postgraduate and vocational trainees to work in accredited, fully supervised training positions that enable them to get the experience they need to provide high quality care to the community.
In 2015, there were 16,959 medical students studying in Australian universities. Over three-quarters of all places were Commonwealth-supported.
Of the total medical students, 3,777 were in the first year of their medical studies and 3,210 or 85% of these were domestic students. Domestic students with a rural background comprised just over a quarter of all commencing domestic students.
Overall international students occupied 2,535 or 14.9% of places. These students were studying onshore in Australia as private or sponsored students and were not Australian citizens, permanent residents or New Zealand citizens.
In 2014, a total of 3,437 students graduated from Australian medical schools. Of these, 2,968 or 86.4% were domestic students.
There were also 3,305 trainees commencing their postgraduate year 1 training in 2015. This was a slight increase of 18 (0.5%) from 2014.
The number of vocational medical trainees (20,069) in 2015 was almost three times the number reported in 2000.
There were 2,993 new college fellows in 2014, of these nearly half (46.7%) were females.
In 2014-15, there were 2,820 visas granted to medical practitioners across the two main subclasses – 457 and 442/402. Over one-third of visas under the main classes were granted to applicants from the United Kingdom.
The data within the report highlight the continued increase in medical education and training that has occurred during the last fifteen years.
The production of the MTRP annual report was managed with involvement of representatives from the key stakeholders in medical workforce training, with oversight by the National Medical Training Advisory Network (NMTAN). These representatives bring different insights into the way medical education and training can deal with the challenges of increasing student and trainee numbers, produce a workforce with the skills that match the future needs of the Australian community and ensure that Australian doctors are held in the highest regard throughout the world.