NZMA Trainee Forum

The NZMA’s annual Trainee Forum was first held four years ago following the establishment of a forum by the Australian Medical Association’s Council of Doctors in Training (AMA CDIT). The idea was for trainee representatives from all of the different medical colleges to  come together for one day to share experiences that they could then bring back to their respective colleges.

Where a trainee indicated s/he had concerns with the college’s training system then, with the trainee's permission, the NZMA would take the matter up with the college concerned. Since its inception, the Trainee Forum has expanded to include those societies involved in training.

The forum now generally includes two guest speakers, influential in matters directly relevant to trainees. These speakers have included the Chair of the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ), the Chair of Health Workforce New Zealand (HWNZ), members of the Medical Training Board and members of the Resident Medical Officers (RMO) Commission. The forum has an informal format and, rather than lecture style, gives attendees the chance to speak one-on-one with guest speakers on key issues of the day.

The NZMA is always looking to improve the forum. If you have a suggestion you would like us to consider please email us at If you are a trainee in a college or society and feel that an invitation should have been sent to you, please let us know.

2013 Trainee Forum

For the first time, the 2013 Trainee Forum in late September included prevocational trainees. This was their chance to ask some of New Zealand’s most influential officials in the Health and Disability Sector about key issues that affect them, as well as to mix and mingle with the DiTC and other doctors who are part way through their specialist training.

Speakers included: Professor Des Gorman (Health Work Force New Zealand), Dr Chai Chua (National Health Board), Health and Disability Commissioner Anthony Hill, and Joan Crawford from the Medical Council.

The day was very successful and a report will be available.

2012 Trainee Forum a success
On Saturday 8 September 2012, trainee representatives from nearly all the colleges gathered together in Wellington to meet with key leaders in medical training at the Doctors-in-Training Council’s Annual Trainee’s Forum. The forum is always popular with trainees as they have the opportunity to engage directly with the speakers.

Last year the speakers were Prof Des Gorman (Health Workforce New Zealand), Dr John Adams (Medical Council), Dr David Galler (Health Quality and Safety Commission) and Mr Chai Chuah (National Health Board).

Prof Gorman opened the discussion by saying that New Zealand did not have a shortage of doctors if they were all working at the top of their scope. Rather he said that there was a maldistribution of doctors and that the nursing workforce crisis meant that doctors were unable to work at the top of their scope. He was confident however that should both these issues be addressed, New Zealand would have a sufficient number of doctors.

The role of the training hubs was also discussed. Many trainees were confused about the role of the hubs, particularly as a number of colleges already provide training regionally. Prof Gorman noted however that he anticipated that in three or four year’s time it was likely that the training hubs would employ trainees directly.

Dr David Galler talked about the Commission’s vision for the future, which would grow systems (rather than institutions) centred on the needs of the patient.

Both trainees and speakers found the forum useful, with Mr Chuah indicating a strong wish for the NZMA’s DITC to run more of these events as he felt that the DHB CEOs could get a lot out of meeting up with trainees in this way.  

More detailed notes of topics discussed at the Forum are available here.