14 May 2015

College Presidents met in Canberra at Parliament House on Thursday 14th May, 2015 for the 110th meeting.

The Chair welcomed Profession Observers, College Presidents and Chief Executives to the meeting and acknowledged the traditional owners of the land upon which they met, the Ngunnawal People.

The Chair reported on his meeting with Health Minister Ley’s Office. CPMC had made a written submission to the National Review of Medical Intern Training noting that workforce modelling was an issue of importance for CPMC.

The Australian Medical Council reported its intention to convene its June meeting in regional Australia’s Toowoomba, Queensland as an opportunity to see what issues there are on the ground. The completed review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) review has been received. Work with the MDANZ on benchmarking for medical schools is underway to potentially make the AMC’s calibrated item bank available to medical schools as an alternative to the benchmarking model. The outcomes from the AMC hosted workshop in March on Generalism in Patient-Centred Care and its impact on Medical Education, Workforce Development and Deployment of Health Care Systems will feed into a second workshop later in the year. The AMC has also undertaken some work on intra-professional education, as well as assessing medical students’ fitness to practice. Key questions that arose included what the AMC, and leaders in the health sector can do to encourage generalism. When the AMC report comes out, it will highlight the issues.

The report from Australia’s Chief Medical Officer was provided by the Principal Medical Officer, Dr Andrew Singer who focussed on the Federal Budget and noted the MBS Taskforce Review, PBAC decisions, the 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement, the changes to the GP training, including incentives. Dr Singer noted the efficiency review of the Department.

Reports from the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Medical Board of Australia, and the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association were noted.

A presentation from the Australian Commission on Safety & Quality in Healthcare in relation to the project Recognising and Responding to Clinical Deterioration was provided by Ms Nicola Dunbar who reported the Commission is looking to encourage ongoing work in the area, and there has been a positive response from a number of Colleges.

The Australian Medical Association discussed the implications arising from the Federal Budget. A Roundtable on sexual harassment in the workplace elicited a strong response from doctors and trainees when the issue became public. The AMA has requested AHMAC to address the issue across the country, by utilising the success of more local programs.

The Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand noted that an evaluation of the Rural Clinical Training and Support (RCTS) Program, from which Rural Clinical Schools are funded, is currently underway. Funding under the Program has been extended until December 2015, at which point outcomes of the review will be able to inform future funding. Estimated projections on the number of medical students coming into the system in future years was discussed in the context of supply and demand requirements, noting the main problem will be that in the next 4-5 years there will be a relative excess while baby boomers retire. By 2025 it should balance out. The other concern is that distribution continues to be a problem.

Members received a Federal Budget update from Dr Wendy Southern, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health prior to an address from the Minister for Health and Sport, the Hon. Sussan Ley. A report was provided to the Committee members from the Chair of the National Medical Training Advisory Network, Professor John Horvath.

Members discussed strategic issues which included approving the Towards 2017 CPMC Strategic Plan, a Chair statement of reference, noted changes in directors with this being the final meeting for Professor Stephen Shumack from the Australasian College of Dermatologists.

The Committee of Presidents of Medical Colleges will next meet on Thursday 6th August 2015 in Melbourne.