Fifty new med school places a good start but only the beginning

Published: June 16, 2023

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists has welcomed the Government’s decision to increase medical student numbers.

“More medical students strengthen our medical workforce pipeline,” said ASMS Executive Director Sarah Dalton, “but we need to keep adding in coming years – 50 more for 2025 and 50 more the year after that.”
ASMS wants to see all political parties back continued growth in numbers. “Whoever forms the next government will have to build on the first steps taken here and keep building,” said Dalton.

“Medical training is an apprenticeship model. If we grow the numbers at medical school, we need to build in capacity for clinical placements, training, and supervision at each stage of undergraduate and vocational training.”

The current senior medical workforce operates with an average 22 per cent shortfall across all departments and specialties.

ASMS’ survey Over the Edge: Future Intentions of the senior medical workforce found that 36 per cent of senior doctors aged over 55 intended to leave the workforce by 2027.

“While 50 more places are a great start, we need to ensure we retain the senior registrars and SMOs we do have. As these students hit their clinical years in our hospitals, we’re set to have more senior doctors leaving.

“It is also crucial to have data to inform medical workforce development and a workforce plan to ensure coordination, retention, and provide certainty of employment for medical graduates.”