Discussion documents online

Changes to Primary Qualifications for Admission to Practise Medicine Consultation Paper

The Australian Medical Council (AMC) has prepared a discussion paper concerning the changes to the range of academic qualifications leading to professional practice as a medical practitioner in Australia.

The Australian Medical Council is the designated accreditation authority for medical education under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009. The AMC's primary interest is a medical program’s ability to meet professional requirements, and to produce graduates who are safe and competent to practise medicine under supervision as interns and to undertake further training in any branch of medicine. It uses the approved accreditation standards to assess whether programs and their providers provide graduates with the knowledge, skills and professional attributes necessary to practise medicine in Australia.

Until 2011 the only model of primary medical education (often referred to as an entry level qualification) in Australia and New Zealand was a university-based program which resulted in a qualification at Bachelor Degree level. In 2011 the University of Melbourne introduced a primary medical degree at a Masters level which added a second type of degree to the entry level qualification for medicine. The AMC is aware of several other universities interested in introducing Masters level qualifications and anticipates others will quickly follow.

The level of the academic qualification awarded by the medical education provider is not of concern to the AMC. However, it is interested in the likely effect of this change in medical education.

The paper canvasses issues for the structure and delivery of medical education and issues for the AMC as the accreditation body. The AMC is presently reviewing the accreditation standards for primary medical programs, and the paper identifies the changes proposed to the accreditation standards that relate to this development.

The discussion paper was circulated to AMC stakeholders and posted on the AMC website in June 2012. In response to a request for stakeholder comments, approximately 20 organisations submitted feedback to the AMC. In general, stakeholders felt the paper adequately addressed the relevant policy issues and concurred with suggested changes to the accreditation standards for primary medical programs. The finalised paper, reflecting relevant stakeholder feedback, is now available.

Download the discussion paper (PDF 521KB).

New standards for assessment of specialist medical training programs

In 2002, the Australian Medical Council (AMC) implemented a process for assessment and accreditation of specialist medical training programs.

Since then, AMC assessment teams have assessed the training and professional development programs of 12 of the specialist medical colleges. The first round of AMC assessments of college programs was completed in mid-2008.

An AMC working party, which comprises nominees of key stakeholders in the AMC assessment process, such as colleges, specialist medical trainees, other phases of medical education, health departments, health consumers and the Medical Council of New Zealand has been reviewing the standards against which programs are assessed. The working party has taken account of the AMC's experience, national policy developments relating to specialist medical training and international developments in medical education.

Draft standards were circulated to stakeholder organisations for comment in January 2008. The AMC thanks all organisations which provided comment on the standards. The standards were endorsed by the June 2008 meeting of the Australian Medical Council.

Download the draft standards circulated in January 2008 (PDF 88KB).

The AMC has also reviewed and updated the formal description of the AMC assessment process. It is not proposing major change to the process, but the amended description reflects the evolution of the AMC process since its introduction in 2002.

Download the updated statement on the AMC assessment process (PDF 85KB).

New procedures for AMC assessment of medical courses

In 2007, the AMC completed a review of the accreditation standards for basic medical education.

In June 2008, the Council approved revised procedures for the AMC accreditation process.

Changes include:

  • A clear statement on the scope of the AMC's accreditation role
  • A revised definition of a major change to a medical course, and revised procedures for assessing major course changes.
  • Updated policy on conflict of interest and confidentiality.

Download the new procedures (PDF 27KB).