Will Australia Face A Medical Student Shortage?

Sep 27, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

With medical graduate numbers on the brink of a plateau next year, Australian officials are worried about a doctor shortage.

The latest annual report from Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand predicts that graduate numbers of medical students will peak at around 3,800 next year, and settle back to 3,700 in 2020.

What has the organization worried? An unmet demand for specialists. 

In an article in The Australian, Medical Deans president Richard Murray said, that the medical sector needed a workforce “more closely aligned with community needs.”  He added, “This would provide significant benefits for rural health care and better respond to the increasing burden of chronic disease in an aging population.”

CEO of Medical Deans Carmel Tebbutt said that the biggest challenge was not the plateau, but the distribution. She explained that graduates wanted specialist opportunities, but most training positions were in metropolitan areas.

She also said that the new report offered insight into the government’s higher education reforms.

What else did the report show? A stable number of international medical students, and spike in the number of indigenous medical students—35 graduates last year, and 51 graduations are predicted next year.  

Learn more about studying medicine in Australia.

 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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