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Friday, 13 December 1996
Page: 7645

Senator LEES (Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats)(11.06 p.m.) —by leave—I move:

(1)   Clause 2, page 2 (line 1), after "Items 15", insert ", 15A".

(2)   Schedule 1, page 8 (after line 23), after item 10, insert:

10A After section 3GB


3GC Medical Training Review Panel

   (1)   The Minister must, by instrument in writing, establish a Medical Training Review Panel.

   (2)   The functions of the Panel are:

      (a)   to compile such information relating to:

         (i)   courses and programs of a kind specified in regulations made for the purposes of subparagraph 3GA(5)(a) (i); and

         (ii)   medical practitioners who are enrolled in or undertaking, or who are available to enrol in or undertake, those courses and programs;

         as the Minister determines in writing; and

      (b)   to publish the information in such a manner as the Minister determines in writing; and

      (c)   to establish and maintain a register of employment opportunities for medical practitioners, in such a form and containing such information as the Minister determines.

   (3)   The Minister may make written determinations relating to:

      (a)   appointment of persons as members of the Panel; and

      (b)   nomination of persons for such appointment.

   (4)   The Panel must, as soon as practicable after 30 June in each year, prepare and give to the Minister a report on its operations during the financial year that ended on that day.

   (5)   The Minister must cause a copy of each report to be laid before each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the Minister receives the report.

   (6)   Determinations under this section are disallowable instruments for the purposes of section 46A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 .

   (7)   This section ceases to be in force on 1 January 2002.

I want to briefly explain amendments 1 and 5. Amendment 5 provides for a mid-term review of the legislation in the form of a requirement upon the minister to report to parliament by the end of 1999 and the operation of the provider number restriction. As part of that review, the minister has agreed that the Institute of Health and Welfare will monitor the impact of the legislation on the delivery and the cost of health services, and the Australian Medical Workforce Advisory Committee will monitor its impact on supply and distribution of medical practitioners.

Amendment No. 2 sets up the medical training review panel as proposed by us and now agreed to by the government. This panel will be given the brief to monitor medical training. Although its specific functions are still being finalised, the minister has given assurances as to what these functions will be. I seek leave to incorporate those assurances which form part of the responses. This is the fine detail of what this will involve.

Leave granted.

The document read as follows

The establishment of a Medical Training Review Panel to oversee the take-up of training places

The Government accepts the need for careful monitoring of the impact of these measures on the Australian medical graduates and would therefore agree to establish a Medical Review Training Panel. The Department of Health and Family Services (HFS) would establish by end February 1997 a medical Training Review Panel (MTRP).

The MTRP would be chaired by HFS and have membership as follows:

all States and Territories

representatives of specialist colleges

representatives of the deans of medical schools

representatives of doctors-in-training, RMOs and career medical officers

representatives of Divisions of General Practice; and

a representative of the Australian Medical Workforce Advisory Committee.

While the Government believes professional organisations which do not provide specialist or vocational training would be inappropriate members of the Panel, it believes that the Panel should consult actively with those associations on training issues.

The MTRP in the first instance will:

1.   identify the number, type (eg part-time/full-time) and location of training places to be offered during 1997 for commencement in 1998;

2.   estimate by specialty the number of training places likely to be offered in 1999 and 2000;

3.   identify the pool of interns/RMOs available for placement at the end of 1997;

4.   publish by end June 1997 the details of 1 and 2 above; and

5.   report by end December 1997 to the Commonwealth Minister for Health and Family Services on the places filled or unfilled and on the number of applicants who have not found a place, with special reference in the report on the male/female mix and the availability of part-time training places.

The MTRP will also:

1.   review the training needs for career medical officers in hospitals and arrange for appropriate training to be made available through the universities and colleges;

2.   keep under review the transparency of arrangements for selection of graduates into training places and for review of selection decisions, including complaints processes; and

3.   work with the States on arrangements to improve the career structure for hospital career medical officers, especially in the light of improved training opportunities.

The Minister will table the annual report of the MTRP in Parliament.