25% Rural Student Intake Requirement
Lou Andreatta (DoHA) introduced the topic.
- From Departmental/Commonwealth point of view, the 25% rural student intake target is increasingly important, and is currently receiving commentary from key stakeholders in rural Australia and media. DoHA advises that target is a compulsory target, need to work to achieve it; some RCS face challenges in meeting the target. Target may increase to 33% in future. How best can we address this issue, from a policy perspective? If universities are not meeting target, the department may have to look at funding levels.
- The number of students that go to universities outside of the big cities is substantially less. It is an increasing problem for graduate-entry medical courses and it’s about what happens earlier on, i.e. secondary school and undergraduate program career pathways.
- Some universities want to increase rural intake to 33%, some struggling to achieve the 25%. Need to enable students to have access and understanding of the potential to become a health professional without having to move to the city. Secondary Schools Program was established to promote rural health careers to students in rural areas. The consistent driver for a rural career is rural origin. Might need to look at new ways of promoting rural health careers to secondary students. It was noted that some simple but effective implementations like medical students visiting primary schools and teaching CPR, can impact on interest in health careers.
- Universities could be asked to provide admissions policies to DoHA for clarification on who’s engaged on admission policies process, and rural student recruitment – to gain an understanding when and how rural recruitment happens in rural areas. Sometimes flying to the city to get to interview is a barrier for a potential student.
Medical Training Review Panel (MTRP) Data Reporting
Padmaja Jha introduced the topic.
- MTRP report provides published data obtained from central university admissions on rural background of student intake. Data provided, does not match those provided by RCSs. RCSs should liaise with relevant central administration area to ensure data accuracy. The Medical Deans’ office sources the information for MTRP report not DoHA.
- It was noted that recent MTRP report used data that is 3-4 years old. Need up to date data to address HWA matters.
- FRAME is not represented on the MTRP. Accuracy of data may be improved by including FRAME representation on MTRP
Strategic Developments: MD Programs, New Medical Courses, NZ Collaboration
- There is now an extended Masters course, MD. There is no barrier to enrolling domestic fee-paying students. Large number of medical schools interested (“conga-line” of medical schools). It opens up opportunities for universities to generate revenue. Curtin and Charles Sturt universities have advanced campaigns for new medical schools. The AMC is currently working through policy implications. Implications include the competition for clinical placements.
- NZ is increasing medical school intake by 30%. Aus/NZ joint promotion of the rural agenda, many similarities, same issues and challenges are faced. Opportunities exist for alliances between regional Australia and New Zealand.
- University of Newcastle/New England joint medical program is debating curriculum reform & structure of program, how graduates might be seen if they didn’t have a MD. Looking at research component and the impact on clinicians, MD could create opportunity for rural research, and could be a positive. Criteria for extended masters is a ‘low benchmark’ with regards to research. Opportunity to inform the curriculum, develop stream that goes back to the beginning of the course and to produce graduates that are more suitable for rural work.