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Intern crisis ramps up as figures fall short

Cate Swannell
Med J Aust
Published online: 20 October 2014

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) has expressed concern that about 240 Australian medical graduates, most of them international students, will not be offered a state or territory internship in 2015.

Jessica Dean, president of AMSA, says figures from the National Medical Intern Data Management Working Group were “very disappointing”.

“As regions of Australia continue to suffer from doctor shortages, it is nonsensical to be wasting another cohort of medical graduates”, Ms Dean says.

“If the government is serious about correcting the ongoing doctor shortage, it makes sense to completely utilise the graduating Australian workforce.

“These students have spent up to 6 years immersed in Australian culture, learning our diseases, and training in our health care system. They are perfectly suited to serve Australia. They just need to be given a chance.”

The Commonwealth Medical Initiative (CMI), developed for international-born Australian graduates to complete an internship in Australia, is yet to offer positions.

“Last year, the CMI was oversubscribed, with 183 applicants for 76 positions”, Ms Dean says.

“These graduates not only want to work in Australia, they are even happy to relocate to work in areas of need, especially rural and regional Australia.

“By failing to facilitate training opportunities, Australia is allowing itself to become a victim of brain drain.”

“Refusing to train local graduates and then filling the deficit with overseas-trained doctors is remarkably myopic.

“AMSA is calling on the government to invest in the future of health care and provide Australia with the health care system it needs.”

  • Cate Swannell


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