Public hospitals struggling to meet medical training demand

1 Nov 2020

AMA Junior Doctor Training, Education and Supervision (TES) Survey

An AMA survey of junior doctors working and training in public hospitals across the nation has found that the capacity of public teaching hospitals to meet the training needs of the growing number of medical students and trainees is being stretched to breaking point.

The AMA Junior Doctor Training, Education and Supervision (TES) survey – conducted during June and July 2012 – received 1,112 detailed responses from junior doctors about their medical training experiences in the public hospital system.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today that the survey delivered mixed results for public teaching hospitals in Australia.

“Quality clinical training, education and supervision in public hospitals underpin medical education in Australia,” Dr Hambleton said.

“Medical training must be seen as an investment in the future health care for Australian communities.

“The AMA TES survey provides clear guidance from the training coalface about what needs to be done to maximise the benefits from that investment.

“We must invest strongly to provide better support for our public teaching hospitals to maintain the key teaching and training roles and to preserve quality, safety and good patient outcomes.

“The survey indicates that the public hospital system is doing its best to support medical education in the face of growing numbers of medical students and junior doctors, but the system’s capacity is being stretched.

“The system is working best for junior doctors in the structured environment of internship and vocational training.

“But junior doctors working in unaccredited roles or in unstructured training programs are less satisfied with their training experience.

“There is room for significant improvement in providing quarantined time for research, support for part-time or flexible hours, and providing teaching skills for junior doctors.

“Immediate significant investment is needed to ensure the quality of medical education and training for the burgeoning medical training pipeline.” 

The AMA Junior Doctor Training, Education and Supervision (TES) survey is available at

Dr Hambleton said that the AMA has proposed some recommendations for all governments that would enhance the strong international reputation of our medical education system and our highly-skilled medical workforce.

The AMA is calling for:

  • improved access to structured education and training for prevocational doctors beyond postgraduate year 2, with increasing integration of unaccredited registrar posts into vocational training;
  • recognition and development of the role of junior doctors as teachers and trainers with the provision of education and resources to develop the teaching skills of junior doctors;
  • improved recognition of the need for flexible working hours by both employers and vocational training providers;
  • the urgent development of an articulated clinical academic pathway for medical students, trainees, senior doctors and existing clinical academics;
  • the exploration of robust and transparent funding models for teaching and training, ensuring that investment in these activities is adequate with indexed, protected funding; and
  • a framework for measuring the quality of medical training. This should include consideration of a national training survey, development of key performance indicators, and inclusion in the National Health Performance Authority’s performance and accountability framework. 

27 March 2013

CONTACT:         John Flannery                       02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761