The Internship Crisis
Before registering as a doctor every medical graduate in Australia must complete an internship year in a hospital. In 2012 between 80 and 180 domestically trained international medical students were at risk of not being offered an internship position due to a $18 million short fall in funding for 2013. The federal government pledged $10 million to address the issue and asked the state governments to contribute $8 million to bridge the gap. The New South Wales government was asked to pledge $4 million, equating to only 0.02% of their health budget. The NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner had rejected this approach, leaving graduating medical students across the country, including a number of Wollongong University students, with an uncertain future. Eventually, all NSW graduates were able to secure an internship position for 2013, but with increasing graduates expected for the 2014 intake, the issue remains to be solved.
Why should you care?
In March 2012 the Federal Governments Health Workforce Australia agency released the 'Health Workforce 2025' report which emphasised the need for all Australian medical graduates to be offered internship positions in order to meet the future healthcare needs of Australia. Our domestically trained international students have passed the same exams as their domestic colleagues and helped fund them thanks to the higher fees they have paid. By refusing them positions we jeopardise future international student enrolments, which could result in domestic students paying higher fees in the future. Furthermore, by under investing in training places for domestically educated students the New South Wales government is perpetuating the dependence on doctors trained overseas who are still being actively recruited to fill the current doctor shortage.
What can you do?
If you feel passionately about this issue you can use the page below to make your voice heard. Simply fill in your name and email address and with the click on a button you can send the message below to the NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner.
This link is open to everyone so tell your family, tell your friends and together we can support the medical graduates that Australia needs.