Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association

Achieving self-sufficiency: training Australia’s future medical workforce

Brian Fernandes A D , Edward R. Scheffer Cliff B and Amelia Chowdhury C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Missenden Road, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia.

B Royal Melbourne Hospital, 300 Grattan Street, Parkville, Vic. 3050, Australia. Email:

C St Vincent’s Hospital, 390 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010, Australia. Email:

D Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Health Review -
Submitted: 5 February 2017  Accepted: 5 May 2017   Published online: 17 July 2017


There is an oversupply of Australian junior doctors, but significant training bottlenecks are developing, and geographical maldistribution in rural and remote areas remains. Last year, the Federal Minister for Immigration rejected a Department of Health recommendation for the removal of 41 health roles from the Skilled Occupation List after concerns that rural and regional communities would be left without access to medical services in areas currently serviced by international medical graduates. In an effort to achieve workforce self-sufficiency, Australia must ensure access to high-quality vocational training places in rural and regional settings while managing immigration of overseas-trained health professionals.


[1]  Health Workforce Australia. The national training plan – final report. Volume 2. Adelaide: HWA; 2011.

[2]  Committee on Medical Schools. Expansion of medical education: report of the Committee on Medical Schools to the Australian Universities Commission. Canberra: Committee on Medical Schools; 1973.

[3]  Australian Government. Review of Australian Government health workforce programs. Canberra: Department of Health; 2013.

[4]  Health Workforce Australia. Health Workforce 2025 – Doctors, Nurses, Midwife – Volume 1. Adelaide: HWA; 2012.

[5]  General Medical Council. National training survey 2016. London: GMC; 2016.

[6]  Department of Health. Australia’s future health workforce – doctors report. Canberra: Australian Government; 2014.

[7]  Department of Health. FOI request 244-1516. 2016. Available at: [verified 8 January 2017].

[8]  Borrello E. Calls for Government to stop giving visas to overseas-trained doctors to address rural shortage. 2016. Available at: 7706612 [verified 8 January 2017].

[9]  Department of Education and Training. 2016/17 skilled occupations list review. 2016. Available at: [verified 8 January 2017].

[10]  Moynihan M, Birrell B. GP oversupply – ignoring the evidence. Clayton: The Australian Population Research Institute; 2016. Available at: [verified 8 January 2017].

[11]  Department of Health. Specialist training program (STP). 2017. Available at: [verified 8 January 2017].

[12]  Commonwealth of Australia. Medical Training Review Panel (MTRP) 18th Report. Canberra: Department of Health; 2015.

Export Citation