Goodwill and vision needed to solve medical intern crisis

27 Sep 2012

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today that Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek, is showing leadership in the talks with the States and Territories to fund all 2013 intern places for locally trained medical graduates, but the AMA holds fears of a short-term-fix to the intern crisis.

Dr Hambleton said a classic example of the blame game between governments is playing out.

“There is a lack of goodwill and vision from some governments, and little concern about the future career prospects of a significant number of Australian medical graduates,” Dr Hambleton said.

“The Commonwealth has offered to fund 100 of the 180 remaining intern places for 2013, but this offer involves a shift of funding from other areas of the medical training budget.

“By redirecting funding from the Prevocational GP Placements Program, the Commonwealth is helping to solve the immediate problem but is potentially reducing the capacity of the health system to train doctors who have progressed beyond their intern year.

“Meanwhile, some States are offering to provide their share of the places - only if the Commonwealth funds them.

“The AMA is pleased that the State and Territory Health Ministers have remained engaged. They must return to the negotiating table next week with goodwill and some vision to meet the long-term health needs of their local communities.

“We welcome the commitment from Medical Deans to limit the intake of international full fee paying students in 2013 and to look at how the future intake of international students can be more closely linked to workforce need.

“We also support, in principle, the Commonwealth's proposal to introduce a national intern application and offer system that will greatly improve current arrangements, enhance workforce planning, and provide the State and Territory Health Departments with much greater certainty.

“The AMA urges all the Health Ministers to look beyond band aid solutions and the Commonwealth-State argy-bargy to instead address the long-term need to fund and build greater capacity across the whole medical training pipeline,” Dr Hambleton said.


27 September 2012


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