Posted on Saturday, 16 May 2015
1. Medical Schools Outcome Database (MSOD) to continue collecting data from the commencement of medical school (commencing medical school questionnaire) to capture commencing preferences, specifically rural preferences. A national, systematic data collection on medical students and career pathways is required to ensure evidence-based policy development. 2. When analysing MSOD data to investigate graduates’ rural preferences and work locations, researchers should control for the effect of commencing preference by including it as a covariate. Adjusting for this factor is crucial when analysing the effectiveness of other programs such as rural placements, scholarships and extended rural exposure, as without this adjustment effects could be overestimated.

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Longitudinal research studies must be extended to include Allied Health Professions, so comprehensive, Multi-professional workforce data can be used to inform evidenced-based Multi-professional workforce planning and incentive programs. With the Fed Gov budget announcement that the scholarship programs are to be collapsed into a single scheme, and the adoption of Modified Monash Model for prioritisation of WF incentives for Doctors (developed and based on med WF distribution data) there is a risk that, in the absense of equivalent workforce data for other health professions, assumptions will be made that what is needed or works for medical professions will work for all health professions. There are very different economic models at play, and different drivers of attraction and retention at play for AHPs compared with medicine, and different again for nursing and midwifery. We need to get to a point that we can see the complex interplay between supply and demand gaps in the whole Multi-d team, not just treating single professions in isolation.