22 May 2013
ACT Government sinks medical training crisis to a new low
The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) is calling on the ACT Government’s Chief and Health Minister, Katy Gallagher MLA, to reverse ACT Health’s recent decision that will inhibit the ability of young doctors to work interstate.
The ACT Government is the most recent jurisdiction to change its system of allocating internships. In addition to prioritising international students studying at the Australian National University Medical School over domestic students studying interstate, including those who completed Year 12 in the ACT, they are now trying to restrict all Australian National University Medical School graduates from applying to other jurisdictions.
“The ACT Government has gone much further than the Victorian, Western Australian and Tasmanian governments,” AMSA President, Mr Ben Veness said.
“The ACT Government has told local graduating medical students that if they merely apply for a position interstate, they may lose the opportunity to work in the ACT.
“This is coercive, anti-competitive, and exploitative of our future doctors. Students have told me they feel bullied.
“ACT Health claim to be seeking graduates who are committed to working in the ACT, yet this year they have halved the length of contract they are offering new doctors, from two years to one. They are sending mixed messages and students are distrustful.
“These changes do nothing to increase the number of doctors working in Australian communities, they merely limit the mobility of young doctors.
“The State, Territory and Federal governments need to collaborate to increase the number of medical internships in Australia. The governments need to allocate these internships efficiently and consistently across the country.
“Internships are mandatory for doctors to complete in order to enter specialty training and work independently in the community. Without cooperation, and the creation of enough internships, Australia will lose doctors overseas. During a shortage of doctors, that’s unacceptable.”
The Victorian Government last year changed its allocation of internships to preference all local international students ahead of interstate Australian students.
This year, Western Australia made changes to preference local international students ahead of interstate Australian students who did not complete their high school education in Western Australia. Tasmania allocates internships to Tasmanian international students before any interstate students, and treats interstate students equally without regard to their residency status.
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