In 2006, the State Minister for Health commissioned a Ministerial Review to consider issues surrounding medical workforce recruitment and retention following a range of complex issues that were brought up in the previous round of enterprise bargaining agreements.

The Ministerial Review was completed in November 2007 and released to the general public in April 2008. The Review Panel made 71 recommendations following submissions from interested organizations and individuals, surveys from health services, consultations with key stakeholders and organizations and visits to metropolitan and rural hospitals.

The Ministerial Review on Victorian Public Hospital Medical Staff can be accessed via this link.

While much of the focus of the Ministerial Review was on recruitment and retention of more senior doctors, overall, the Review found that the health system is ‘under significant stress with low staff morale’. There were anecdotes from senior staff regarding their lack of involvement in decision-making and a focus of the public hospital system on ‘throughput and budget accountability than on quality of care and outcomes’.

Upon the release of the Ministerial Review to the public, the State Health Minister released a general response to the Review and wrote to the Chairs of Hospital Boards requesting their responses to the Review. The Health Minister’s response and letter to Board Chairs can be access here. From the understanding of the MSCV these responses will be collated and released.

While the focus of the Review was not on medical education and training, some recommendations were relevant to these issues; in particular, recruitment and retention of teaching staff who will be needed to teach the increasing number of medical students training in the public health system. The Review made recommendations regarding pre-vocational and vocational training and workforce recruitment and retention in areas of workforce need. MSCV wrote to the State Health Minister requesting action on several of these pertinent recommendations. This can be accessed here. Mr Daniel Andrews responded to the MSCV letter in June 2008 and this can be view here.

Currently very few of the 71 recommendations have been partially implemented. The MSCV currently awaits further action from the state government regarding implementation of the recommendations.