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Med students set to miss out on training places

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13th Sep 2012
Byron Kaye   all articles by this author
AMSA president James Churchill called for all governments to commit funding to create sufficient internships for all Australian-trained applicants.

HUNDREDS of medical graduates face missing out on becoming a doctor as Australia contemplates its first ever shortfall of intern places, the Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) has warned.

AMSA said that with three months until the January start date for 2013 internships, about 235 medical graduates were yet to gain a position, more than double the shortfall at the same time last year. Typically it takes three months for an internship position to be accredited.

It comes as future doctors consider the likely effects of increased graduate numbers with several new or expanded medical schools planned. The states typically provide funding for internships but the federal government has indicated it wants the shortfall fixed.

AMSA president James Churchill said the prospect of medical graduates being denied internships was a bad return on investment for taxpayers who helped fund the degrees and an insult to the clinical educators who educated them without payment.

“It’s a significant waste of public money. It’s a significant waste of valuable clinical resources and to be producing doctors that we are not able to allow to continue training as doctors is madness,” he told MO.

He called for all governments to commit funding to create sufficient internships for all Australian-trained applicants.

Opposition regional health spokesman Andrew Laming said Health Workforce Australia (HWA) must convene a summit of state government and health care operators “where people eyeball each other… and find a solution”.

“Without that you’re not fully using the capability of this new body,” Mr Laming said.

An HWA spokesperson said the body was helping with “the analysis of the 2013 intern situation” and would provide support as required.

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