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Changes to Primary Qualifications for Admission to Practice Medicine Consultation Paper

8 November, 2012

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 practice 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 practice 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).