COAG Health Workforce - More Doctors and Nurses for the Health System

An additional 400 new university medical places and 1,000 new undergraduate nursing places will strengthen our health workforce, particularly in areas of high need such as rural and regional Australia.

Page last updated: 09 May 2006

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Why is this important?

  • This funding will help Australian universities increase the supply of doctors and nurses to boost the health workforce. It will increase the number of doctors in rural areas by allowing more rural students to get into medicine and by training more medical students in rural areas.
  • It will build on the Commonwealth’s commitment to ensure 25 per cent of medical students undertake at least one year of medical clinical training in a rural area.

Who will benefit?

  • Universities and students will benefit from increased funding for more Commonwealth supported university places in medicine and nursing.
  • Rural Australia will particularly benefit from more doctors trained in rural areas, as a proportion of the new medical places will be bonded to areas of workforce shortage.

What funding is the Government committing to the initiative?

  • This measure forms part of the Government’s contribution to the COAG Health Workforce package, as announced on 8 April 2006.
  • An additional 400 new commencing medical places at a cost of over $60 million over four years with some of the new places commencing in 2007 and the full 400 available by 2009. The final number of places funded will depend on the length of the courses that receive new places, but over 1,800 new medical places could be funded by 2012 as students progress through their courses.
  • An additional 1,000 new undergraduate nursing places commencing in 2007 that will grow to 2,735 additional nursing places by 2010 at a cost of over $92 million over four years. These places are in addition to the 420 new places in undergraduate nursing courses with a mental health major, commencing in 2007, growing to at least 1,148 places by 2010 at a cost of around $40 million over four years.

What have we done in the past?

  • Publicly funded commencing medical places in Australian universities have increased by more than 30 per cent since 2000 as a result of a range of Government initiatives.
  • In 2005, new medical schools were opened at Griffith University and the Fremantle campus of the University of Notre Dame. New medical schools will open at the University of Western Sydney and the University of Wollongong (in 2007) and the University of Notre Dame will open a medical school in Sydney (2008).
  • The Rural Clinical Schools Programme already ensures that 25 per cent of Australian medical students undertake at least one year of their clinical training in a rural area.
  • The Rural Undergraduate Support and Coordination Programme has increased the number of medical students from rural areas to 25 per cent of all new students.

When will the initiative conclude?

  • These initiatives are ongoing.

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