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04 Jan 2017

 

Australian medical students have rejected a call by the Sunshine Coast Mayor for more federally-funded medical student places at the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

Councillor Mark Jamieson has called on the Federal Government to fund an additional 15 medical student places.

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA), the peak representative body for Australia’s 17,000 medical students, said that Cr Jamieson’s #operationmedschool campaign failed to recognise the broader issues surrounding medical workforce shortages in rural and regional Australia.

More medical student places do not correlate to more doctors, let alone to more doctors servicing rural and remote areas,” AMSA President, Rob Thomas, said today.

“We already have more medical students graduating than there are internship places available for them to formalise their qualifications as doctors.

“This week alone, nine Western Australian graduates did not receive internship offers for this year. What should have been a time of celebration of many hard years of study has turned to one of stress and uncertainty.

Medical student numbers are regulated because medical training is very costly to the health care system and the taxpayer. Resources are wasted if a graduate doesn’t have a pathway to a job in the future, and student numbers should relate to overall workforce need.”

The solution for the Sunshine Coast lies not in an increase in student numbers, but a redistribution of current students, Mr Thomas said.

“In December, the Assistant Minister for Rural Health, Dr David Gillespie, announced that the Government will be assessing the current distribution of medical student places,” Mr Thomas said.

This is a sensible approach.

“As a local student myself, I’ve seen that it’s not more students, but more doctors that we need to attract. We can attract doctors via more vocational training pathways. That should be the focus when opening the new hospital.

“There are already 40 students graduating on the Sunshine Coast each year. These graduates need proper vocational training in a sustainable health workforce environment.

Increasing student numbers will not lead to improved health for Sunshine Coast residents. The last thing we need is more students.”

Media Contact: Isabella Gosper
Phone: 0416 816 830 

Published: 04 Jan 2017