Doctors not impressed

Australian Medical Association WA president Dr Richard Choong said there had been no consultation with the profession and there was little evidence any thought had gone into the proposal.

‘It seems this promise is little more than cheap electioneering,’ Dr Choong said.

‘Until the Federal Government makes a decision on a new medical school, it is easy to promise any amount of money for the new campus.

‘The Liberal Party could have made a promise to give a $22 million boost to research spending.

‘That would be more meaningful, and have a much greater and more immediate impact on WA society,’ Dr Choong said.

He said opinion polls consistently show health is one of the most important issues in this election campaign and yet both major political parties appear to have ignored the views of the public.

‘With less than a month to go before voters go to the polls we have only the barest details of what their health policies are,’ Dr Choong said.

The AMA said boosting the numbers of doctors was more complicated than just creating a new medical school.

Additional training places also need to be created.

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) is also concerned about the plan for a Midland medical school.

AMSA president Ben Veness said record numbers of medical graduates were already competing for limited intern positions and the number of graduating students had more than doubled since 2002.

‘Last year, we faced the prospect of a severe shortage of internships for our new young doctors,’ he said.

‘A last-minute bailout by the Federal Government was required to help prevent the loss of Australian-trained doctors overseas.’

Mr Veness said governments must commit to funding enough internships and specialist training positions, before increasing the number of medical students.

‘We need a co-ordinated approach. Otherwise, increasing the number of medical students will not increase the number of rural doctors. It will just increase the number of unemployed doctors,’ Mr Veness said.

– Nurses close hospital beds, page 6