Tag Archives: Internships

PRESS RELEASE: New medical workforce data affirms need for Doctors for Rural Communities

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) has warned that the latest national data showing declining numbers of doctors in the rural medical workforce highlights the need for increasing funding into rural training pathways, especially GP training, and not new medical schools.

This week’s Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report, Medical Practitioner Workforce 2015, showed that the overall supply of medical practitioners was lowest in outer regional and remote areas.

AMSA President, Elise Buisson, stated that a lack of funding for young doctors to train in regional, rural and remote Australia was a significant contributor.

“This latest report confirms that GP and specialist services in regional and rural Australia need sustainable investment. While overall rates of medical specialists and generalists are increasing nationally, they are decreasing in these areas where we need them the most,” said Ms Buisson.

“A 2015 OECD study showed that Australia has the highest medical graduate rate per capita with 3.4 per 1000, compared to New Zealand and the United Kingdom (2.8 per 1000) and the United States and Canada (2.6 per 1000), with Australian medical graduate numbers more than doubling in the past decade.

“Despite this, the people of rural and remote Australia still face worsening access to specialists and GPs, higher rates of chronic disease, and higher rates of death compared to those in our major cities.

“This rural doctor shortage is a problem not of numbers but of distribution, as doctors are faced with a lack of adequate training and working opportunities in rural communities.”

While many medical students and junior doctors are passionate about becoming regional and rural GPs and specialists, upon graduation they find there are few opportunities because of a shortage of accredited training positions outside of the metropolitan centres.

Furthermore, the AIHW report shows that the rural GP workforce is under threat by increasing hours of workload and an aging population. AMSA’s proposal for the expansion of rural GP and specialist training positions for junior doctors would serve to relieve this. In contrast, more medical schools producing more graduates without training opportunities would worsen the strain.

“Of all medical practitioners, GPs represent the most aging population of doctors, having the highest proportion aged 55 or over, while rural GPs work the most average hours per week compared to their metropolitan counterparts,” said Ms Buisson.

“We need to use evidence-based strategies to resolve rural workforce shortages, which includes making the funding of rural training positions a priority.”

The Government is set to establish a National Rural Health Commissioner. AMSA looks forward to working with them on these sustainable workforce strategies.

Media Contact:

Tabish Aleemullah



PRESS RELEASE: Medical students fear for jobs as internship crisis looms

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) has warned that a nationwide shortfall in medical internships will leave recently graduated doctors unemployed. This will most significantly affect rural Australia and areas of health workforce need, which continue to suffer from a lack of access to medical practitioners and health services.

As the first internship offers are made this week under a cloud of uncertainty for many prospective junior doctors, AMSA President, Elise Buisson, said major investment is needed from the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to drive expansion of internship placements in non-traditional settings.

“A crucial step in resolving the internship crisis will be investing in placements in non-traditional settings. An example of this is the Commonwealth Medical Internships (CMI) Initiative, which is an innovative Federal government program that provides an extra 100 internship positions each year,” Ms Buisson said.

“As recommended by the Review of Medical Intern Training released by the COAG Health Council in 2015, expansion of internship placements into appropriate private, not for profit and community settings is needed to increase the system’s overall capacity.

“Without an internship, medical graduates are unable to continue the necessary training to become the practising doctors that Australia needs and we will still have junior doctors missing out.”

Australia lost up to 40 of junior doctors earlier this year due to the lack of internships, despite an AMSA survey showing that 95 per cent of students without an internship would consider practice in a rural area, where demand for doctors is higher.

“These young doctors want to work in the Australian health care system – to give back to the communities that trained them, to give back to rural Australia and to our areas of need. Without an internship, they’ll have no opportunity to do that,” Ms Buisson said.

“We need a sustainable health workforce where continuing funding and expansion of internship positions is matched with expansion of vocational training positions, especially in rural, regional and remote Australia.”

AMSA is calling upon the Federal and State governments to make the expansion of medical internship positions a key health priority this election year.

Media Contact:

Tabish Aleemullah



PRESS RELEASE: Medical students welcome Budget support for internships

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) has welcomed the consolidation of funding for Commonwealth Medical Internships (CMI) within the 2016-17 Federal Budget, which will provide 100 additional internships for Australia.

AMSA President, Elise Buisson, commended the Government’s desire to innovate within the medical workforce by continuing to expand internship settings, such as the CMI.

“This program has an important focus on getting Australian-trained doctors into non-traditional settings, including rural and regional Australia, which is exactly where we need them,” Ms Buisson said.

“Not only does it provide medical graduates with the necessary training to become practising doctors, but it helps alleviate the doctor shortage in rural and regional Australia.

“This is a positive step given the internship crisis is set to continue, with domestic medical graduates in South Australia projected to miss out on internships beginning in 2017.

“In order to create a sustainable medical workforce across both the CMI and state-based internships, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) needs to work together to provide jobs for all newly graduated Australian doctors.

“As the Government reaffirms its commitment to delivering high quality regional and rural healthcare, the next step is to support funding for rural positions for doctors in training so these interns can be retained in rural Australia.

“Rural training positions would bring more young doctors and their families to rural Australia. This directly creates new jobs in these areas and provides rural Australia with increased access to the general physicians and medical specialists they need,” Ms Buisson said.

To find out more about AMSA’s ‘Doctors For Rural Communities’ proposal on providing rural communities with more specialist doctors, visit www.dfrc.org.au.

Media Contact: 

Tabish Aleemullah



ACT Government sinks medical training crisis to a new low

Media release
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.

Media contact:
Steve Hurwitz
0405 419 416
Follow AMSA on Twitter: http://twitter.com/yourAMSA

No charge to apply for internships in NSW

AMSA is pleased to confirm that there will be no charge to apply for an internship in New South Wales (NSW) for 2014.

This week, the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI), which allocates and accredits internships in NSW, announced all domestic students graduating from NSW medical schools would have to pay $110 if they wished to apply for an internship in NSW, while anyone else would have to pay $429 (including domestic students graduating from interstate medical schools and all international students).

The AMSA National Executive believed the concept of charging a fee to apply for a job was unfair. All employers incur recruitment costs. It seemed like a really dangerous precedent, and in the worst case scenario, a way of entrenching unemployment and limiting socioeconomic mobility in a society. We are not aware of any other jurisdiction that charges such fees to apply for internships, and have been told that Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria definitely don’t.

AMSA approached the CEO of HETI and discussed this with the Medical Director at some length. Subsequently, HETI contacted us again to say that they had reconsidered the issue, and while they still think charging a fee might be a good idea, they have decided not to do so in 2013. In addition, the bond that has previously been charged to interstate applicants will also be scrapped this year. The removal of the new fee alone will save Australian medical students about $200,000 this year, which we are very happy about! AMSA is grateful to HETI for reconsidering the new fee, and for their removal of the bond system. We also appreciate the promptness with which they responded to our inquiry.

The big issue regarding the quantity of internships for 2014 remains to be solved, however AMSA looks forwards to continuing to work with HETI (and others) on this, especially after they’ve demonstrated that they are willing to listen to student concerns.