Medical Training Review Panel: fourteenth report

Trends in Vocational Training

Page last updated: 11 March 2011

It is important to note that some figures presented in the trend data tables below are not necessarily comparable with the figures from previous years due to training program changes, including the introduction of a requirement for basic training prior to proceeding to advanced training. Comparable figures have been referenced where possible.

In 2010, there were 14,679 vocational training positions/trainees in total, an increase of 5,362 (57.6%) from 2006 (Table 4.18). The increase in the number of advanced training positions/ trainees was relatively less, increasing by 44.8% or 2,918 from 2006 to 2010. The proportion of female advanced trainees stayed relatively constant across the five years. The number and proportion of part-time advanced trainees, however, varied significantly from year to year with no discernible trend.

Table 4.18: Vocational training positions/trainees: Total, advanced, female advanced and part-time advanced trainees, 2006-2010

Total college traineesAdvanced training positions/traineesAdvanced female traineesProportion female (%)Advanced part-time traineesProportion part-time (%)
2006
9,317
6,514
3,018
46.3
676
10.4
2007(a)
10,100
6,833
3,181
46.6
739
10.8
2008(b)
11,668
7,324
3,421
46.7
556
7.6
2009
12,958
8,249
3,967
48.1
1052
12.8
2010
17,679
9,432
4,494
47.6
971
10.3
increase 2006-1010 (%)
57.6
44.8
48.9
2.8
43.6
-1.0

(a) Training positions/trainees have been revised from the 2007 report.
(b) Advanced training positions/trainees have been revised from the 2008 report.

Source: Medical colleges and GPET

Over the five years from 2006 to 2010, a number of medical colleges markedly increased training numbers (Table 4.19). Paediatrics and adult medicine showed the largest increases with double the training positions filled in 2010 than in 2006 (increases of 105.3% and 103.8% respectively).

Psychiatry and radiation oncology also almost doubled their training over this same period, increasing advanced trainees numbers by 96.6% and 93.0% respectively in 2010.

In contrast, decreases in training numbers from 2006 to 2010 were seen in the numbers of advanced trainees in several specialties. Caution should be exercised when looking at these figures. Data for some specialties showed considerable fluctuations in the numbers across years.For dermatology and public health medicine, the apparent decreases are due largely to differences in the way data is reported across the years, with the medical colleges only being able to report data for advanced trainees separately since 2007. Also, a joint pathology and RACP specialty program was introduced in 2006, as an alternate pathway for specialising in pathology.

Data on advanced vocational training positions/trainees for all years of MTRP reporting is provided in Appendix D.

Table 4.19: Advanced training positions/trainees by medical specialty, 2006-2010

Medical specialty20062007200820092010Increase 2006-2010 (%)
Addiction medicine
..
..
..
..
11
..
Adult medicine(a)
690
948
1,043
1,157
1,406
103.8
Anaesthesia
477
416
463
485
612
28.3
Anaesthesia - Pain medicine
36
49
45
53
51
41.7
Dermatology
64
31
33
39
45
-29.7
Emergency medicine(b)
486
462
480
811
881
81.3
General practice

- GPET
- ACRRM


2,003
..


2,003
..


2,162
..


2,309
..


2,572
70


28.4
..
Intensive care
180
285
326
375
332
84.4
Medical administration
84
86
80
92
105
25.0
Obstetrics and Gynaecology(c)
100
101
109
131
123
23.0
Occupational and Environmental medicine
74
59
61
55
87
17.6
Ophthalmology
50
47
70
77
(d)49
-2.0
Paediatrics(a)
284
286
395
453
583
105.3
Palliative medicine
..
..
..
..
58
..
Pathology
194
176
211
224
301
55.2
Pathology and RACP (jointly)
107
95
124
137
131
22.4
Psychiatry
178
177
278
322
350
96.6
Public health medicine
80
75
75
61
60
-25.0
Radiation oncology
57
96
104
101
110
93.0
Radiodiagnosis
288
299
314
328
333
15.6
Rehabilitation medicine
125
131
121
138
143
14.4
Sexual health medicine
..
..
..
..
19
..
Surgery(e)
732
774
791
901
1,000
36.6
Total
6,514
6,833
7,324
9,150
9,432
44.8

(a) Includes trainees based overseas.
(b) International medical graduates were included in trainee numbers from 2009.
(c) Includes advanced trainees years 5 and 6. Covers Australian trainees who are undertaking FRANZCOG training only and not OTS who are also undertaking RANZCOG advanced training as a requirement to obtain college fellowship.
(d) Includes 3 and 4th years only, not 5th year.
(e) RACS does not differentiate between basic and advanced surgical trainees as the surgical program is an integrated program (SET).

Source: Medical colleges and GPET

Overall advanced vocational training activity increased markedly in all states and territories from 2006 to 2010 (Table 4.20).

In 2010, the increase in training positions/trainees was highest in the Australian Capital Territory, with an increase of 157.1% to 252 places. However, it should be noted that this data gives a distorted picture of the true increase in training in the Australian Capital Territory, as data for some specialties was reported with that for New South Wales previously and general practice numbers continue to be reported together.

The next largest increase in training positions/trainees was in the Northern Territory, where it increased by 72.5% or 74 positions/trainees overall between 2006 and 2010.

Table 4.20: Advanced training positions/trainees by state/territory, 2006-2010

NSWVicQldSAWATasNTACT(a)Aust
2006
2,188
1,770
1,144
524
529
116
102
98
6,514
2007
2,312
1,831
1,831
525
619
121
101
107
6,833
2008
2,486
2,040
1,351
599
689
147
120
129
7,581
2009
2,727
2,190
1,486
623
722
156
130
122
8,249
2010
3,033
2,448
1,780
740
700
170
176
252
9,277
Increase 2006-2010(%)
38.6
38.3
55.6
41.2
32.3
46.6
72.5
157.1
42.4

(a) Australian total differs from the sum of state/territory totals in some years because it includes trainees in overseas placements.

Source: Medical colleges and GPET

Overall, the proportion of advanced vocational trainees who are female has changed little over the five years from 2006 to 2010, remaining at just under half (49.1%) of all advanced vocational trainees (Table 4.21).

The proportion of female trainees has fluctuated over the years in many specialities, particularly those with smaller numbers of trainees. However, there are a number of specialities that have had consistently lesser proportions of female trainees, such as occupational and environmental medicine, surgery and intensive care (14.9%, 22.8% and 27.1% respectively in 2010). In contrast, obstetrics and gynaecology, general practice, paediatrics, rehabilitation medicine and public health medicine have continued to maintain higher proportions of female advanced trainees (at just over three-fifths for each).

Table 4.21: Proportion of female advanced vocational trainees by medical specialty, 2006-2010

Medical specialty20062007200820092010Increase 2006-2010 (%)
Proportion female (%)
Addiction medicine
..
..
..
..
36.4
..
Adult medicine
43.2
43.0
43.1
40.2
42.3
-2.0
Anaesthesia
36.5
39.7
37.1
50.7
39.9
9.2
Anaesthesia - Pain medicine
..
26.5
31.1
35.8
29.4
..
Dermatology
54.7
51.6
66.7
59.0
55.6
1.6
Emergency medicine
41.4
44.2
43.5
41.9
38.6
-6.8
General practice
58.9
58.9
62.0
63.8
64.9
10.2
Intensive care
20.0
34.7
24.5
24.3
27.1
35.5
Medical administration
33.3
20.9
10.0
14.1
27.6
-17.1
Obstetrics and Gynaecology
65.5
65.7
68.8
67.9
65.0
-0.7
Occupational and Environmental medicine
23.0
23.7
16.4
25.5
14.9
-35.0
Ophthalmology
48.0
31.9
34.3
31.2
38.8
-19.2
Paediatrics
64.1
63.6
60.1
58.7
61.4
-4.2
Palliative medicine
..
..
..
..
53.4
..
Pathology
77.5
53.9
45.3
64.5
80.1
3.3
Psychiatry
47.8
52.5
26.3
53.1
55.1
15.4
Public health medicine
68.8
69.3
26.3
59.0
61.7
-10.4
Radiation oncology
70.2
44.8
52.9
57.4
58.2
-17.1
Radiodiagnosis
33.0
30.4
30.9
34.8
31.8
-3.5
Rehabilitation medicine
60.8
60.3
60.3
61.6
61.5
1.2
Sexual health medicine
..
..
..
..
52.6
..
Surgery(a)
18.0
18.3
23.3
23.1
22.8
26.7
Total (%)
46.6
46.6
45.1
48.1
47.6
Total trainees
3,015
3,181
3,421
3,967
4,494
49.1

(a) RACS does not differentiate between basic and advanced surgical trainees as the surgical program is an integrated program (SET).

Source: Medical colleges and GPET

Overall the proportion of female advanced trainees remains fairly constant across states, roughly in the range of 40% to 50% each year. However, the proportion of female trainees has been higher each year in the Northern Territory (ranging from 50% to 60%) and generally lower in the Australian Capital Territory (Table 4.22).

Table 4.22: Proportion of female advanced trainees by state/territory, 2006-2010

NSWVicQldSAWATasNTACTAust
Proportion female (%)
2006
46.9
47.7
46.0
41.4
46.8
49.1
55.9
39.8
46.6
2007
47.5
47.5
45.2
43.6
46.0
43.8
60.4
30.8
46.6
2008
46.3
45.0
44.3
44.9
42.7
46.9
59.2
33.3
45.1
2009
39.2
49.4
46.2
47.2
45.2
48.7
60.0
42.6
48.1
2010
50.0
48.8
46.1
46.4
48.9
47.6
52.3
40.1
47.6

Source: Medical colleges and GPET

There were 976 part-time advanced trainees in 2010. This represents 10.3% of the total advanced trainees (Table 4.23). Considerable variability in reported numbers of part-time advanced trainees from year to year makes it difficult to distinguish any discernable trends in part-time training.

Table 4.23: Advanced trainees undertaking part-time training by medical specialty, 2006-2010

Medical specialty20062007200820092010
Addiction medicine
1
2
2
6
5
Adult medicine(a)
27
46
29
51
59
Anaesthesia
6
6
32
21
24
Anaesthesia - Pain medicine
..
5
3
7
6
Dermatology
2
2
2
1
5
Emergency medicine(b)
49
37
93
na
23
General practice
453
453
364
743
631
Intensive care
1
3
0
2
1
Medical administration
0
0
1
1
1
Obstetrics and Gynaecology
8
17
7
25
3
Occupational and Environmental medicine
7
0
0
0
0
Ophthalmology
0
0
1
2
1
Paediatrics(a)
51
62
9
70
76
Palliative medicine
10
9
6
16
6
Pathology
2
4
17
1
11
Psychiatry
27
24
57
60
64
Public health medicine
16
27
15
17
11
Radiation oncology
0
0
0
1
4
Radiodiagnosis
7
2
4
5
7
Rehabilitation medicine
18
15
11
17
26
Sexual health medicine
7
4
3
7
11
Surgery(c)
2
2
4
0
1
Total
694
720
660
1,053
976

(a) These numbers include trainees within the joint RACP and RCPA program and trainees based overseas.
(b) 2010 data is year to date of posts credentialed.
Numbers refl ects trainees who have undertaken part-time training at any time during the first half of the year.
This does not mean they have been in part-time training for the whole year.
(c) RACS does not differentiate between basic and advanced surgical trainees as the surgical program is an integrated program (SET).

Source: Medical colleges and GPET