Medical Training Review Panel: fifteenth report

Fellowship

Page last updated: 15 March 2012

When medical practitioners finish their vocational training and have met all other requirements of the relevant college, they are eligible to apply for fellowship of the medical college.

There were 2,401 new fellows of medical colleges in 2010. Almost one quarter (570 or 23.7%) were overseas trained specialists who were assessed as having qualifications comparable with specialists trained by the medical college in Australia and given fellowship of that college (Figure 8).

The number of new fellows was over double (113.2% increase) the 1,126 new fellows in 2000.

Figure 8: New fellows by sex, 2000–2010

Figure 8: New fellows by sex, 2000–2010 D

Source: Medical colleges

New fellows were proportionally split across specialties as shown in Figure 9, with just over a third (36.0%) in general practice.

Figure 9: New fellows by medical specialty, 2011

Figure 9: New fellows by medical specialty, 2011 D

Source: Medical colleges

General practice had the largest increase in terms of sheer numbers over the last decade, with 470 more new fellows in 2010 than in 2000. There were lesser, but big increases in the numbers of new fellows in adult medicine, anaesthesia and psychiatry (187, 148 and 748 more respectively in 2010 than in 2000).

In terms of proportional increases, the number of new fellows in intensive care was over five times higher (445.5% increase) in 2010 than in 2000. A number of other specialties showed significant increases across the five years, however, the numbers were small and fluctuated considerably.

The significance of the increased training activity and consequently the number of new fellows can be put into perspective by looking at it in relation to the total number of college fellows. There were 44,735 fellows of medical colleges reported as actively practising in their specialty. New college fellows therefore constituted 5.4% of the total fellows in 2010.

The relative proportion of new fellows to fellows within a given specialty reflects the growth in the specialty area and, in turn, gives an indication of changes in the number practising. This proportion varied greatly across specialties, with the largest relative proportions of new fellows continuing to be in intensive care (10.3%) and also in pathology (13.8%) for those completing joint programs with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP).