AMA President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua, today called on the Government to immediately lift the cap on general practice training places, after it was revealed that more than 200 would-be GPs will be turned away.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported today that patients' access to GPs in Australia has fallen since 2002. Dr Capolingua said patients are telling doctors it is becoming more difficult to get an appointment.
"Despite this, the Government's GP training body this year will have to turn away more than 200 medical school graduates who wanted to become GPs," Dr Caplingua said.
"826 graduates applied for just 600 places.
"This must be rectified immediately. Today's report demonstrates that the Government must urgently lift its cap on places for trainee GPs."
The training body, General Practice Education and Training (GPET), has said that it could take on an extra 100 trainee GPs each year, to bring the total to 900 places by 2011.
"There is every reason to train more GPs, and no reason not to," Dr Capolingua said.
"The AMA's blueprint for primary care reform released yesterday clearly demonstrates that GP-led teams are the safest and most cost-effective way to ensure that all Australians have access to quality primary health care.
"The Government would have Australian patients believe that GPs can be replaced by nurses and allied health providers.
"But even the nurses' union says there are not enough nurses in Australia to manage the current nursing workload, let alone think about taking on the work of doctors.
"To ensure that Australian patients enjoy continuing access to high-quality primary health care, the only answer is to train more GPs."