23 August 2013
Medical students welcome internship funding by Coalition
Medical students welcomed yesterday’s announcement by Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing, The Hon Peter Dutton MP, that, if elected on 7 September, the Coalition would commit to providing Federal funding for 100 medical internships per annum for the next four years.
AMSA President Mr Ben Veness said that international students would be extremely pleased by this news.
“This year we have hundreds more students graduating from Australia’s medical schools than there are internships funded by the state and territory governments in public hospitals,” Mr Veness said.
“These students, from countries like Canada, the United States, and Singapore, have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars as well as four to six years of their lives learning medicine in Australian universities and hospitals.
“They have a lot to offer Australian communities if they are offered employment at the end of their degree.
“Without Federal funding for additional internships, it is very unlikely that the states and territories will employ all of them, wasting their talents at a time when our community needs more doctors.
“The alternative to employing Australian-trained medical students is to employ international medical graduates, which is an ethically dubious course of action and a waste of Australian doctors’ time training these students during their medical degree.
“Australia has a shortage of approximately 2,700 doctors projected for 2025. We need to retain and utilise our medical schools’ graduates.
“Medical students are delighted to see both Labor and the Coalition recognising the huge opportunity presented by an increased number of medical school graduates, and call on both parties to help ensure all of the graduating students are retained.”
Earlier this month, Minister for Health and Ageing, The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, announced that $8 million would be allocated to funding an additional 60 internships in 2014. Today’s announcement by the Coalition goes much further, promising $40 million to provide 100 Commonwealth-funded internships per annum for the next four years, starting in 2014. These new internships are intended to be based in private hospitals and other non-traditional settings, especially those outside major metropolitan centres. Before these announcements, approximately 200 international students were likely to miss out on an internship for 2014.
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