22 October 2012
Students take to the streets as time runs out for internships: AMSA
The advocacy of the Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) and others continues to fall on deaf ears as time runs out to create internships for this year’s medical graduates.
On Sunday, approximately 200 medical students took to the streets of Sydney dressed in scrubs to protest the collective failure of Governments to invest in internship positions for Australian-trained medical graduates. They were supported by representatives of AMSA, the Australian Medical Association NSW, and the University of Sydney.
AMSA President, Mr James Churchill, said it is completely unacceptable that up to 182 medical graduates still do not have internships for next year.
“After yet another meeting of the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council on Friday, we still have no commitment from the States to fund any additional internships,” Mr Churchill said.
“Without internships, these medical graduates are unable to work as doctors and serve Australian communities.
“We know Australian communities are crying out for more doctors and shorter hospital waiting times and we have Australian-trained doctors ready to work, but Governments simply haven’t been prepared to invest the funds to allow them to do so.
“Shipping out Australian-trained medical graduates is likely to have severe economic consequences. This not only represents a squandered investment of taxpayer dollars, but could have severe ramifications for Universities and State Governments reliant on the revenue from international students studying in Australia,” he said.
The Federal Government has pledged $10m to fund 100 new internships, on the condition that the States collectively contribute the $8m required to fund the 80 remaining positions.
“We are not talking about large sums of money, but the return on this investment would be invaluable for the Australian community,” Mr Churchill said.
“The internship shortage is the first symptom of a wider crisis that will affect the medical training system in the near future.
“It’s imperative that Governments collaborate to fund internships for the doctors Australia needs and develop a sustainable medical training system,” he said.
For the latest updates on the internship situation, visit http://www.amsa.org.au/advocacy/internship-crisis/ and follow #interncrisis on Twitter.
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