The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) welcomes reports of Health Minister Tanya Plibersek’s $10m commitment to address the medical internship shortfall but warns there is still more work to be done.
AMSA President Mr James Churchill said it was a huge step forward to see Commonwealth investment into internships but that it was disappointing that the states had not stepped up to help.
“It’s promising that the Federal Government has committed funding to new internship positions in the private sector. This announcement makes it possible for 100 more medical graduates to be able to work as doctors in Australia’s communities,” Mr Churchill said.
“Unfortunately, even with this new Commonwealth support, there will be a shortfall of at least 80 internships. These positions are available and ready to be accredited, yet sadly, Victorian, New South Wales and Queensland Health Ministers have simply turned their backs on this important issue and have not provided the funding needed.
“After years of warnings and months of discussions, we still face a situation where graduate doctors are likely to be left unable to work in Australia’s healthcare system next year. The failure to create enough internships for Australian graduates represents a failure of leadership and coordination between the state and federal governments,” he said.
The Commonwealth funding is understood to be redirected from the Government’s Prevocational General Practice Placements Program (PGPPP). AMSA has previously expressed support for PGPPP and emphasised the importance of continued strong investment in this program.
“It is also concerning that these new positions funded by the Commonwealth may be subject to conditions or requirements beyond those generally associated with internship positions. AMSA opposes ‘return of service’ arrangements for medical graduates,” he said.
AMSA is calling for state governments to end months of uncertainty and agree to the Minister’s proposal for internships for all Australian-trained applicants.
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