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2.  Department of Health: Broad Strategic Environment – developments post Budget
Ms Penny Shakespeare, First Assistant Secretary, Health Workforce Division
  • The change of government has led to a different approach at the Commonwealth level.
  • The Federation White Paper is looking at interaction between Commonwealth and State / Territory responsibilities especially in Health and Education.
GP & Specialist Training
  • The environment for General Practice training is changing.       PGPPP is not continuing. PIP payments have been doubled. There will be a public tender process for regional training providers.
  • The Commonwealth is reviewing different sources of funding for clinical training and looking for increased transparency and rationality in funding areas.
  • The National Medical Training and Advisory Network has transferred to the Department.
  • The Department is seeking better evidence base for Commonwealth, State & Territory investments.
  • The Department is informed about workforce numbers required and in what specialtiess. A subgroup is looking at training capacity in rural areas.
  • There is a commitment at the government level to continue the current model of training, determined by the Medical Board, AMC and colleges.
  • The Department is picking up the functions of GPET.
Funding Agreements
  • The Government is looking to reduce expenditure wherever it can. There will be no expansion of funding and no indexation. Efficiency dividends will be applied more generally.
  • There will be possible changes to way programs are structured. Funding agreements will relate to specific constitutional factors in relation to provision of medical services and benefits to students.
  • The new Secretary, Martin Bowles, takes up his position in mid October.
Discussion covered the following topics:
25% rural intake
  • The Department is keen to set achievable targets for all participants in the program.
New medical schools
  • The Government’s current position is not to support new medical schools.
Specialty Training in rural and regional Australia
  • There is a need to build capacity and look at the relationship between specialist medical colleges and universities.
Rural Training Pipeline
  • As there is no central health system, different sectors and different levels of government have to work collaboratively. It is important to have hospital based training positions and opportunities for primary care training in the right locations,.
Potential for 3GA provider number status for junior doctors
  • There are legislative restrictions on salaried doctors and Medicare. (Section 192 of Health Act)
National Medical Training Advisory Network
  • The existing structure will continue. The NMTAN will present reports on medical workforce to health ministers. Secretariat provide by Department, chaired by independent Chair.
  • Its function is to look at what’s happening and make projections out to 2030 based on assumptions, data models. It will make policy decision recommendations to policy leaders.
RA classifications
  • The Department is working on RA classification and districts of workforce shortage.
The issue of state jurisdictions charging medical schools for training
  • Internal working groups from the Departments of Education and Health are developing the Federal position to respond to an increasing likelihood that charges will be introduced. Discussions with the University sector will take place as soon as the government has determined the way forward.
RCTS funding
  • Funding will be influenced by the Medicare co-payment, deregulation of university funding, etc.
Process for FRAME to provide advice to the Department
  • The Department will work with the FRAME Policy Group to gather feedback and input.