Fu­ture of vet­ting in ques­tion

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Health -

From Health cover 61 per cent of area-of-need as­sess­ments within eight weeks, and 54 per cent of OTS as­sess­ments, to the col­lege of sur­geons com­plet­ing 92 per cent of area-of-need as­sess­ments and 95 per cent of OTS as­sess­ments. Dur­ing the pro­gram, the key per­for­mance indicators for col­leges to process 80 per cent of ap­pli­ca­tions was changed from six weeks to eight weeks, with the col­lege of sur­geons al­lowed 12 weeks and the col­lege of ob­stre­tri­cians and gy­nae­col­o­gists eight weeks.

The av­er­age as­sess­ment cost was $4312 across the col­leges, and while some col­leges recorded a sur­plus or con­fi­dence that the RAUs could be self-fund­ing, the re­port was more pes­simistic: Whilst the one-off fund­ing to col­leges has been pro­vided by the Com­mon­wealth for the im­prove­ment of OTS as­sess­ment pro­cesses, there is con­cern about some col­leges’ abil­ity to con­tinue achiev­ing ser­vice im­prove­ment due to com­pet­ing re­source con­straints.’’

Rus­sell Stitz, chair­man of the Com­mit­tee of Pres­i­dents of Med­i­cal Col­leges, said the col­leges had been sup­port­ive of the pilot.

And al­though it’s ar­guably not the core busi­ness of the col­leges to as­sess in­ter­na­tional med­i­cal grad­u­ates, nev­er­the­less they feel that’s a con­tri­bu­tion they can make to the stan­dards of medicine in this coun­try,’’ Stitz said.

Stitz said col­leges were, how­ever, sub­scrip­tion-based, and while train­ing was done on a cost-re­cov­ery ba­sis, there would al­ways be sen­si­tiv­ity over the level of fees.

While Stitz could not speak on be­half of all col­leges, he sug­gested his own, the Royal Aus­tralasian Col­lege of Sur­geons, would strug­gle to keep its RAU per­form­ing at such a high level with­out con­tin­ued sup­port.

A de­part­ment spokes­woman said while the RAUs were re­ferred to as pilot projects, it was the de­part­ment’s ex­pec­ta­tion as spec­i­fied in the con­tracts that they would be­come self­fund­ing through as­sess­ment fees and would con­tinue op­er­a­tions be­yond the life of the fund­ing agree­ment’’.

It is a mat­ter for each col­lege to de­cide whether to con­tinue to run the units at the com­ple­tion of the con­tract,’’ the spokes­woman said. As re­quired by the Coun­cil of Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ments in July 2006, a model for a na­tion­ally con­sis­tent as­sess­ment process has been de­vel­oped and is be­ing im­ple­mented across all ju­ris­dic­tions.

The re­port also rec­om­mended there be a cen­tralised gov­er­nance model and stan­dard­ised in­for­ma­tion man­age­ment sys­tems for the RAUs to en­able manda­tory per­for­mance mon­i­tor­ing in the fu­ture.

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