The Australian Medical Council is an organisation whose work impacts across the lands of Australia and New Zealand.
The Australian Medical Council acknowledges the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples as the original Australians and the Māori People as the tangata whenua (Indigenous) Peoples of Aotearoa (New Zealand). We recognise them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for these lands.
We pay our respects to them and to their Elders, both past, present and emerging, and we recognise their enduring connection to the lands we live and work on, and honour their ongoing connection to those lands, its waters and sky.
The AMC Assessment and Innovation business area is responsible for the assessment of International Medical Graduates seeking medical registration to practise in Australia.
The Assessment and Innovation area:
Partners with a range of subject matter experts such as medical educators, assessment experts and clinicians as well as stakeholders and staff to manage International Medical Graduate progress along the pathway to securing an AMC Certificate.
Works collaboratively with medical schools and specialist colleges to deliver examinations at the AMC National Test Centre (NTC) in Melbourne as well as online and develops technologies, products, and services that ensure high quality assessment delivery.
Relies on an evidence-based approach to examination quality improvement by using research and data analysis to improve examination procedures, policy, and assessment outcomes.
In Australia about 33% of doctors complete medical school training in other countries. Rural/remote areas (30 % of Australians; 65% of Indigenous Australians) are particularly reliant on International Medical Graduates (IMGs). These areas experience the greatest
health inequities and challenge of access to care. This poses challenges to IMGs who may be new to Australia, Australian healthcare, and ways of working, impacting healthcare outcomes for communities they serve.
Strong IMG assessment processes and support ensuring IMGs are prepared to practise medicine safely and competently in Australia are vital. Challenges in maintaining an appropriately skilled medical workforce in rural/remote areas, require better data and workforce modelling to inform policy. IMGs are a heterogenous workforce, and better understanding their skills, aspirations and experiences is a key to enabling constructive change. For example, modifications to migration, assessment, and registration requirements, and improved training, supervision, support and job design could assist IMGs to maximise their contribution to communities they serve. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic affected the recruitment, assessment, registration and opportunities to practice for IMGs. Countries with substantial reliance on IMGs for medical workforce are examining how to address bottlenecks and ensure efficient pathways.
There is an opportunity for a detailed stocktake of IMG assessment pathways and career models with the view to ensuring currency and relevance for the current healthcare and policy environment.
This project is designed to provide information on the experiences of International Medical Graduates (IMGs), recruiting health services and other key stakeholders in the common assessment and registration pathways for medical practitioners in Australia. The outcomes of this project will be used to inform policy development and to improve IMG assessment pathways.
This project adopts a mixed-method research approach. It combines the views of IMGs regarding pathways and career experiences with qualitative insights of key stakeholders and quantitative datasets. Specifically, it draws on this evidence base to develop IMG personas and journey maps, and to shed light on the role IMGs play in the medical workforce.
An Advisory Group provides expert guidance, advice and support to the project and the AMC. The Advisory Group, is chaired by Dr Vijay Roach and members representing include: health consumers and community groups; the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC); postgraduate medical education councils who support IMGs; executive staff of health services; the Medical Board of Australia; Ahpra; the Australian Medical Association; AMC committees; Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples; relevant government agencies; International Medical Graduates; IMG recruiters, examiners and supervisors; Workplace Based Assessment (WBA) providers; and bridging course providers.
The proposed project scope includes the common assessment pathways for IMGs.
The project is structured in three stages, with corresponding deliverables:
This project is based on co-design methodologies. The Advisory Group provides input through zoom meetings and follow up advice through surveys and focus groups. The project will also include a consultation phase which provides the opportunity for broader stakeholders of IMG assessment to review the proposed deliverables and shape the end products.
The AMC successfully implemented the online clinical examination delivery in March 2022, enabling International Medical Graduates to continue on the Standard pathway for registration. Between March 2022 and June 2023, the AMC has assessed approximately 2400 candidates through 145 online clinical examinations.
In late 2020, under the guidance of the Clinical Examination Project Steering Group, the AMC began developing an online clinical examination. The online clinical examination retained the structure of 14-scored stations and two unscored stations (pilots) with a required pass mark of 10 or higher out of 14 scored stations.
The Zoom platform was chosen for the online clinical examination delivery to enable interactions between the invigilator, a simulated patient and the candidate, and utilises the features within Zoom such as breakout rooms and auto assignment of participants.
In early March 2021, pilot examinations were conducted with International Medical Graduates as part of the final testing. The test candidates were offered an opportunity to attempt the examination under ‘real’ conditions as part of the testing. The candidates could pass the examination or be offered another attempt free of charge if they failed.
The AMC launched the online clinical examination in March 2021. The AMC website was updated with relevant information, candidate resources including access to the candidate briefing video and the updated examination specifications (policies).
The AMC has implemented digital marking into the online clinical examination delivery, which involves examiners marking an online mark sheet.
Further development of the online clinical examination will include: