Background A new medical assistant training program has been developed as
an innovative solution to the workforce pressures facing general
practice in Australia.
Objective This article describes the development and implementation of
the Australian medical assistant role and training program, and
discusses key lessons learned in the 4 years after the first medical
assistants were trained.
Discussion Medical assistants are trained to carry out delegated administrative
and clinical assisting duties specific to the ambulatory care
environment. Lessons learned thus far from the introduction of this
national qualification include the need to consult widely within
the health care profession in the development of new roles, the
imperative to bring together health and education sector expertise,
the importance of flexible course delivery and the need for clearer
role and boundaries definitions. The experience from the program
implementation described in this article may help inform further
primary care workforce development.
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