Announcement: 116 new Internship places found, 66 still needed

Announcement: 116 new Internship places found, 66 still needed

Congratulations to AMSA, AMA and the countless students and doctors around the country who have been lobbying tirelessly to get a solution. And please send your thanks to Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek:

Medical students across Australia are celebrating the news that Federal Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek along with the Queensland, ACT, Western Australian & the Northern Territory governments have funded a further 116 internships for 2013.

As of this morning, it was estimated that more than 180 Australian-trained medical graduates would miss out on the opportunity to work in Australia due to a lack of funds for the internships necessary to obtain full medical registration.

Despite the fact that the majority of unplaced medical graduates hail from New South Wales and Victoria both states have so far refused to fund any additional places for the students left without internships.

Ms. Plibersek has been instrumental in working with the state governments to try and keep the 180+ international medical graduates in Australia. Last month, she proposed a one-time offer of $10m to fund 100 of the estimated 182 internships needed on the proviso the relevant State governments funded the shortfall of $8.2m. Most notably, NSW and Victoria rejected the offer citing they believed they had already funded enough intern places for 2013. Until the announcement today, there had been no further progress made to retain these young doctors.

Investing in internships is a wise decision by the Queensland, Western Australian, Northern Territory and ACT governments. For their initial investment of approximately $100,000 per intern, the future return will mean significant decreases in locum doctors as well as lessening the need for recruiting foreign-trained doctors.

Currently over 3,000 overseas trained doctors are brought in to Australia each year – often temporarily on 457 class visas – to fill shortages across the health system.  These doctors have not been trained in the Australian system and are often not provided with adequate support or preparation.

New South Wales has recently discovered a $600 million budget surplus and is being presented with the opportunity to make a sound long-term decision and invest in the future of their health workforce. Even with the increased investment this year the problem is still awaiting a long-term solution. Next year the Medical Training Review Panel has projected 3,723 medical graduates nationally, up from 3326 this year.  This includes 678 international students who, like their counterparts graduating this year, are not guaranteed an internship but would love the opportunity to practice medicine in Australia.  With these projections, the lack of a long-term solution virtually guarantees a recurrence of the internship crisis next year.

“We applaud Ms. Plibersek’s hard work and commitment to solving the current intern crisis. With the projected workforce shortages in the coming years, now is the time to continue investing in future health professionals. We still have 66 students who need places for 2013.” says David Townsend, Chair of the General Practice Students Network and active member of Medical Student Action on Training.

“We urge everyone to continue working together to fund not only the places for 2013, but for 2014 and beyond. Australians deserve quality healthcare.”

This post was written by
Medical Student Action on Training (MSAT) is a grassroots movement by Medical Students Australia wide who have united to raise awareness and demand political action be taken to solve the #interncrisis
  • saa

    This whole site is being run by international students. Why has all our conversation been deleted?

    • Blaise Wardle

      I’m an international student working with MSAT and I’m not sure what has happened to the conversation, we’re looking into it now. I’m glad that you assume that it’s all a conspiracy though. Our website is run by local students.

  • Canadian Med Student in Oz

    We also need to push for service RMO and “non-accredited” Registrar positions to become accredited such that more junior doctors can progress in their training to become fully trained. We also need the states to regulate the medical schools such that they can only accept as many med students as the state can hire doctors. We need sustainable solutions that plan/organise/fund the entire training pipeline, without one-off solutions at the 11th hour. We should push for this now while we have the government’s attention, it will be too late to push for this when find ourselves jobless after internship.

    I also object to the above infographic in that it groups SA with states that have not even pulled their own weight. SA has in fact funded 41 spots from its own funds for international students from other states without (and before) any federal funds or deals, more than all of the other states combined. I think Ms. Plibersek deserves thanks for her leadership but WA, ACT, NT, and SA also deserve thanks for funding positions for students that are not even from their own state.
    No mention has been made where the funding is coming from and whether it is a one-off deal like the previous internship offer?

    • Med_Student_AT

      Hi, you raise some good points! Thanks for raising the issue about the South Australian offers. You are right, it isn’t fair to bundle them in with NSW and Victoria. I have removed the infographic while we work on an updated version.

      In regards to where the money is coming from, the Federal component of the funding is coming from unused funds in the PGPPP program. This is a one off solution from a one off source of funding. No word yet on a long term, national plan to address the training crisis across the entire pathway.

    • Med_Student_AT

      We have updated the graphic to better clarify the data. Thanks again for your feedback

  • Jane

    And which hospitals are offering spots for these international students? The same big metropolitan ones that P1 students have to ballot for and be sent rural?

  • dsda


  • dsda

    The great Canadian scam:

    (1) most CSAs (over 90%) want to return to Canada for postgraduate training

    (2)While Canada has a ubiquitous shortage of family physicians, particularly in rural communities, only 21% of CSAs choose a career in family medicine.

    (3) None of the for-profit schools in the Caribbean have postgraduate training opportunities,and the schools that recruit Canadian students in Ireland, Poland,
    other European countries

    As an Australian tax payer, I’d like to know why am I paying to train them if 90% will take off (as per their government report)?

    These Canadian students dont want to serve rural areas in their own country. What makes us think they are going to rough it in Alice?

    Nobody else in Europe seem to offer foreign students internships? Why dont we use that money to bring in medical students from poorer nation and train them up for service to their people? Surely Canada is rich enough to fund training for their people?

    • Canadian Med Student in Oz

      Most Canadians studying abroad might want to return to Canada (many due to lack of postgrad opportunities as you point out) but actually most Canadians studying in Australia end up staying in Australia (90% of North Americans stay and 75% of other citizenships stay, the figure is higher for ‘partnered’ ones) according to a study by Professor Hawthorne from Melbourne University (

      Its as if you are implying that your tax funds are being paid to interns that sit on their bottoms and do nothing while that money can be better utilised training medical students from 3rd world countries. These are working doctors that are being paid wages in return for their hard work (long hours and rough conditions). Also, remember that Canadians self-fund their medical education (at a massive personal expense of not less than $250,000) and subsidise education for Aussie med students. So in fact, Canadians reduce the amount of tax that you have to pay. Don’t forget also that Australia imports thousands of IMGs annually from poor countries that can least afford it. If the Canadian was not there, an IMG would be imported to do the work instead. So your logic applies to Australia too, surely Australia is rich enough to fund training for their own people than to take doctors from countries that can least afford it. This is a good reason to hire these internationals. I think hiring Canadian med students is a good deal for Australia, and Australia can reduce its reliance on foreign IMGs (a big public health issue).

      The root cause of not going rural is mainly not choosing general practice rather than not wanting to live rural, as it is more challenging for specialists to go rural than GPs where there is less specialised facilities and less demand for their specilised services. So its not merely that people don’t want to go rural its that they don’t want to become GPs and therefore its less practical to go rural. That aside, with a little empathy, I think you can see why a med student with a debt of $250,000-$500,000 would prefer to be a specialist rather than a GP. Still, those Canadian figures you quote do not apply to Australia because GPs are well compensated here (as opposed to Canada) and internationals studying in Oz are much more likely to choose general practice here than they are in Canada.

      This article further clarifies why Australia should fund internships:

    • Canadian Med Student in Oz

      Moreover, the 90% CSAs that want to return is a skewed sample. Many CSAs resent the fact that Canada has failed them (despite having stellar grades/extracurricular activities/etc could not fulfill their dream of becoming a doc in Canada, have also received no help while abroad and are not so welcome back). Thus, many of these CSAs resent this and do not even fill out those surveys. The ones that do fill the surveys (and are registered with the Canadian recruitment agency that runs those surveys) want to go back so obviously it will be 90%. I for one (and many of my Canadian friends) have committed to serving Australia because I am grateful that Australia has actually provided me with the opportunity to fulfill my dream of becoming a doctor when my own country has failed me.

    • JOhn

      @9219e4819b2f7d20835da0c86a94d9cb:disqus you’re a dumbass so why don’t you shut your mouth. Bottom line is that Australia should have enough internship spots for all the med students they take accept, international or domestic. It is irresponsible for them to take international students for their money, and then not give them an internship spot. That is the fundamental issue here.

      How dense can you be? you’re skirting the issue using biased information. By the way, I am a domestic student who was not affected, but people like you are really stupid.

    • Medicine

      Issue is many of the students couldnt get into canadian medical schools because grades too low. So they came to australia as you could pay your way into the medical school. I think these students understandly fear that they are not at the same standard to return back to canada. I hear it is very easy to get in as an international student. My niece got rejected in canada for nursing and is completing medicine in sydney.

      • Canadian Med Student in Oz

        You are a jerk. In fact, Canadians studying in Australia have very high grades and GPAs. All Canadians in my year had a minimum 3.8 GPA out of 4.0 as per a presentation given to us by the dean of admissions of my Aussie med school. My GPA was 3.91 and I know my buddy had 3.95, which is more than enough for a Canadian med school. These students come to Oz in fact because they don’t want to waste years of their life trying to get accepted to a Canadian medical school where admission is based more on luck and who you know than on grades and hard work.

      • Canadian Med Student in Oz

        You are a jerk. In fact Canadians studying in Australia have very high grades and GPAs. All Canadians in my year had a minimum 3.8 GPA out of 4.0 as per a presentation given to us by the dean of admissions. My GPA was 3.91 and my buddy had 3.95, which is more than enough for a Canadian med school. These students came to Oz because they didn’t want to waste years of their life trying to get accepted to a Canadian medical school where admission is based more on luck and who you know than on grades and hard work.