CAREER MEDICAL OFFICERS BULLETIN Volume 1 Number 1 December 1996

The Brennan Report

Report into Non- Specialist Hospital Careers

Summary of Findings and Recommendations, with comment from the Inaugural Meeting of the Career Medical Officers Association.

The title "Career Medical Officers" is stigmatised and should be scrapped. It should be replaced by Hospital / Community Medical Officer, as appropriate.

This recommendation was rejected at the meeting. Most of the people present felt happy with the designation "Career Medical Officer" and thought that any stigma was unwarranted and probably confined to those who had least contact with CMOs. In any case most of the other terms are too restrictive or even inaccurate. This matter can be raised at the first annual general meeting if necessary, however in the meantime we are proud to call ourselves CMOs.

Motion: That the term
Career Medical Officer be retained and applied in all relevant cases.
Vote: Passed Unanimously

Postgraduate Medical Councils (PMCs) should assume professional responsibility for non-streamed medical officers.

This professional responsibility would be an extension of the role they now undertake for Interns and first year RMOs in some jurisdictions.

The role would involve:

PMCs will need to be adequately resourced for this to occur.

These several points were also rejected by the meeting. The PMCs have neither the interest nor the resources to look after CMOs. The work they do in supervision of the interests of JMOs is excellent, however to also assume responsibility for CMOs would be both extremely difficult and would suggest that both groups are similar (which is not the case). The best people to look after the interests of CMOs are CMOs themselves.

Motion:That whilst the CMO's Association recognises and appalauds the contributions of the PMC within their charter, that we do not submit ourselves to their authority at this time.
Vote: Passed Unanimously

Motion:That the CMO's Association should assume professional responsibility for its members.
Vote: Passed Unanimously

There should be a significant contribution to the costs from the doctors themselves. (Similar to the contribution of trainees in specialist college programs)

Not relevant at the present time.

Wherever possible, educational packages should profitably be developed with Universities and Colleges that lead to awards (Graduate Diplomas, Masters, degrees etc....)

The meeting was in agreement with this point.

Motion: The Association should develop educational packages, in association with the relevant professional bodies, leading to awards and experience relevant to the members own individual needs.
Vote: Passed Unanimously

Career advancement should be based on training and competency, not just years of service.

In theory, the Association agrees.

Recognition and certification need to be portable. This can best be achieved by the Australian Medical Council developing national standards as it has done for Interns.

Certainly recognition and certification need to be portable (both between hospitals and other workplaces and also between states. Who should be responsible for this is not clear at present.

Motion: That recognition of service and certification of training need to be portable.
Vote: Passed Unanimously

The profession and the industry need to accept the responsibility for clearly documenting the role and responsibilities of these doctors in the workplace.

CMOs must be involved in all discussions.

The structure needs to be flexible enough to allow for all forms of practice, salaried, sessional, part-time & fee/service.

Absolute Agreement.

For salaried non-specialist doctors who have appropriate experience and training, independent clinical practice and even rights of private practice need to be allowed for.


A national body of non-specialist hospital practitioners may emerge.

Has emerged!

Such a movement must come from doctors themselves and will not occur overnight.

It did.............and it did (almost).

Training and experience gained in non-specialist/non-streamed positions should be recognised by the appropriate bodies. (NASQAC/Specialist Colleges).


As a starting point, an alternative pathway to Vocational Registration through this stream would be possible, especially where procedural skills and competencies gained as a HMO were required for some rural general practice vacancies. Additional training in general practice skills would be required.

General agreement - a very important point for those practitioners who are presently involved in both CMO and GP practice, but also for those who want to engage in some general practice in the future.

The principle of multiple pathways to specialist recognition is acknowledged in some disciplines but not in the mainstream Colleges.

Motion:That the Association seeks to examine alternate pathways to specialist recognition and vocational registration
Vote: Passed Unanimously

The emerging role of Universities in graduate education may force these traditional approaches to speciality training to be reconsidered.

The proposals in this Report can be advanced by pilot studies. These pilot studies should be in at least two jurisdictions. Queensland are well advanced and it would be an obvious place to start.

We will need to consider these proposals in more detail.

With the help of a surgeon he might yet recover, and prove an ass.

Midsummer Night's Dream V. I. 298 -299

Like many a commisioned study, this may sit on a desk
somewhere and have nothing further done about it.
Or it might become the kernel of some productive planning.
It may be up to us, the CMO's, to make that happen.