Abbott's Budget Adds to Doctor Shortage

Hundreds of qualified medical students will be unable to complete their training due to Abbott Government Budget cuts, worsening Australia’s doctor shortage, the Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) today confirmed.

The Abbott Government slashed $115.4 million from GP education and training in the May Budget, ending the Prevocational General Practice Placements Program (PGPPP).

The PGPPP was a hugely successful program which provided junior doctors with general practice experience in regional and remote communities as part of their compulsory medical internship.

“The AMSA findings confirm the Abbott Government’s cuts will mean hundreds of junior doctors no longer have access to internships,” Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King said today.

“This means hundreds of Australian trained medical students will be forced to either change careers or move overseas to complete their education at a time when Australia is facing a looming shortage of doctors.

“That is why Labor’s increased funding for the PGPPP allowed state and territory governments to offer more medical internships.

“By slashing the PGPPP the Abbott Government has directly increased the shortage of internships for junior doctors around the country.”

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Health Nick Champion MP said “the Abbott Government’s changes to the Prevocational General Practice Placements Program, together with the decision to axe Health Workforce Australia, are short sighted. They are directly adding to shortages of doctors in regional and remote communities”.

Labor understands the need to address health workforce shortages and calls on the Abbott Government to honour its election commitment of no cuts to health. 

The decision to end the PGPPP must immediately be reversed and measures put in place to ensure all medical students who train at Australian universities are able to practice here.