The “who’s who” Guide to the Intern Summit

The “who’s who” Guide to the Intern Summit

Wondering what the National Medical Intern Summit is all about? Here’s our ‘who’s who’ guide to the presenters to help get you started. Don’t forget to follow #interncrisis on Twitter for updates on the summit.


Minister Jillian Skinner
NSW Minister for Health

Appointed as NSW Minister for Health and Minister for Medical Research on April 3, 2011. Skinner faced considerable criticism last year when NSW initially refused the commonwealth government offer to create additional internships in exchange for increased investment by the states and for her statement suggesting that medical graduates should pay the state for their internships. She spent the early part of her life working as a journalist and strategic planner before embarking on a political career. She held the position of shadow minister for health from 1995-2003 and from 2005 until the 2011 state election. Her belief is that NSW does not need the additional students being trained by the universities as they currently have filled all the positions for interns in the state. NSW has recently announced plans to cut hospital budgets by $3 billion over four years, which makes increasing capacity for medical training out of current state budgets unlikely without a change in this plan. She has been urging for additional cooperation between state and federal governments in the form of increased commonwealth investment into health.


Minister Tanya Plibersek
Commonwealth Minister for Health

Appointed as Commonwealth Minister for Health on December 14, 2011. Minister Plibersek was instrumental in the commonwealth offer last year of $10 million by the Commonwealth government to fund 100 of the estimated 162 internships needed at the peak of the internship crisis last year. With the cooperation of Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and eventually New South Wales, 127 internships were created (58 new internship places in Queensland, 40 in Western Australia, 15 in the ACT, three in the Northern Territory and 11 in NSW) and the graduates who were able to wait for the allocation process to be completed were all offered the opportunity to complete their medical training in Australia. Minister Plibersek faced criticism from the state health minister that the funding pledged last year was a one off payment and does not address the long term issues of underfunded health care systems. Along with Jillian Skinner, Minister Plibersek would like to see increased cooperation between state and federal governments to prevent a repeat of last year’s crisis and to deal with bottlenecks at other levels of medical training.


Professor John Dwyer
Emeritus Professor of Medicine UNSW

Re-examining all our medical education strategies in the light of the internship crisis. The challenge and the opportunity. 

Founder of the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance. Professor Dwyer has championed in Australia the resurgence of clinician governance and is much involved in efforts to create structural reform within the Australian health care delivery system. He is a member of the NSW Department of Health’s major advisory Council and Co-Chairman of the Medical Staff Executive Council of NSW. He founded the Australian Health Care Reform Alliance, which sees 54 organisations now speaking with one voice on the need for reforms to the Australian Health Care system. His greatest concerns for the Australian health system are both the cost ineffectiveness and the increasing inequity of access to health care due largely to insufficient numbers of health professionals, particularly doctors, especially in rural and remote areas. He points out that the shifting existing places in medical schools to the rural locations would be an important step in beginning to address these inequities.

Sourced from


Professor Stephen Duckett 
Director Health Program Grattan Institute Melbourne

What’s an internship worth, and to whom? An economic perspective on internship.

Professor Duckett has occupied leadership roles in health services in both Australia and Canada and holds a Bachelors degree in economics as well as a Masters and PhD in health administration. He is the current director of the Grattan Institute, and Australian public policy think-tank. He accurately points out that simply throwing money at creating more positions for interns is a poor economic decision with long-term consequences in terms of the need to subsequently create more training places further along the line as well. His view is that a long-term plan to address health workforce issues is needed and that increasing the productivity of the existing resources would be the most economically sound course of action. He has also suggested a ‘reconceptualization of the intern year’ which would allow a greater focus on the training aspect of the internship with a concurrent decrease in the salary paid to interns.


Dr Michael Bonning

Panel member: The Internship model – Time for Change?

Representative from the AMA Council Doctors-in-Training and a Director of beyondblue, the national depression initiative. Dr Bonning has been active in campaigning for the interests of young Australian doctors. His goal is to see a sustainable, safe, well-trained medical workforce that delivers health care equitably to all Australians. Last year during the internship crisis he lamented the lack of an explicit national strategy regarding the employment of international medical students trained in Australia and believes that appropriate coordination and planning can prevent a repeat of the crisis this year. He also warned that the internship crisis was just the first shortfall that will be seen with the increased numbers of medical graduates and that there will be similar shortages at senior prevocational and vocational training levels.


Professor Bruce Dowton 
Vice-Chancellor Macquarie University

Panel member: The Internship model – Time for Change?

Professor Dowton is a former Clinical Professor of Paediatrics at Harvard University and former Dean of Medicine at UNSW. Macquarie University is the only Australian university to own a Private Hospital, which is located on the campus which is based on the model set by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. That, combined with his hiring as vice-chancellor has created some speculation that the university may pursue a medical school at some point in the future to dovetail with the medical research facilities currently housed on-site. Professor Dowton has extensive expertise in the field of health care and medical education.


Mr Matthew Daly 
Secretary Department of Health and Human Service Tasmania

Panel member: The Internship model – Time for Change?

Mr Daly has worked as the CEO of the Clinical Support Division of the Southern New South Wales Health Service, the Chief executive of South Eastern Sydney Illawarra Area Halth Service, the Deputy CEO of South Western Sydney Area Health, as Director of Clinical Operations at South Eastern Sydney and Illawarra Area Health Service, as the Chief Executive for the Northern Sydney Central Coast Area Health Service and in management at both Manly and Mona Vale hospitals. He has an extensive background in health administration.


Dr Joanna Flynn 
Chair Medical Board of Australia

Panel member: The Internship model – Time for Change?

In 2009 Joanna Flynn was appointed the Inaugural Chair of the Medical Board of Australia and the Chair of the Board of Eastern Health, one of Melbourne’s largest metropolitan public health services. From 2000 to 2008 she was President of the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria, President of the Australian Medical Council from 2003 to 2008 and was the Director of the RACGP General Practice Training Program in Victoria from 1989 to 1997. Led the move to national registration for health practitioners.

Sourced from:


Professor Robin Mortimer
President Australian Medical Council

Panel member: The Internship model – Time for Change?

He has contributed to the AMC’s assessment and accreditation of medical education programs, examination of international medical graduates, and strategic development. Professor Mortimer has made a strong contribution to AMC accreditation of primary and specialist medical programs, and is currently chairing the AMC working party developing national standards for intern training.

Sourced from:


Professor Justin Beilby
President Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand; Executive Dean Health Services University of Adelaide

Panel Member: Looking to the Future – Sustainable Solutions

Professor Justin Beilby spent 10 years working as a General Practitioner in both urban and rural settings. In the late 1990s he began teaching at the University of Adelaide as a senior lecturer in General Practice. Becoming Professor and Head of the Department of General Practice in 2002, he later took up the role of Executive Dean. involved in research and evaluation in workforce planning, primary care financing, chronic illness and the quality use of medicines. He will contribute a perspective on training needs with his extensive experience in educating health professionals and with Australia’s clinical training system.

Sourced from:


Mr Mark Cormack
CEO Health Workforce Australia

Panel Member: Looking to the Future – Sustainable Solutions

Mark was appointed of the CEO of Health Workforce Australia in 2010 and his previous role was as the Chief Executive of ACT Health. He has worked in the health sector for over 25 years previously working as a member of the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council, as the Chairman of the Health Policy Priorities Principle Committee and as a board member of the National E Health Transition Authority. He was heavily involved in talks with the government during the internship crisis last year.


Dr Jim Houston
Director Medical Services Greenslopes Private Hospital Qld

Panel Member: Looking to the Future – Sustainable Solutions
Greenslopes Private Hospital is one of only a few private hospitals in Australia that accepts medical students for clinical teaching. Dr Houston is well placed to comment on the cost/benefit of clinical teaching in private hospitals.

Mr Martin Laverty
CEO Catholic Health Australia

Panel Member: Looking to the Future – Sustainable Solutions

Mr Laverty is Chair of the NSW Heart Foundation, and a member of the National Heart Foundation Board. He is Chair of Sunshine, a not-for profit NSW Disability organisation, and is a member of the NSW Public Service Commission Advisory Board. He was previously a Board director of the NSW Muscular Dystrophy Association, and Chair of the disability service provider Challenge Southern Highlands. Mr Laverty recently told a senate inquiry into health funding that a single source for health funding in Australia would prevent political squabbles about who is responsible for footing the health care bills and would be beneficial to patient well-being.

Dr Susan O’Dwyer
Executive Director Medical Services Metro South Health Qld

Panel Member: Looking to the Future – Sustainable Solutions

Dr O’Dwyer is also a member of the Implementation Committee and Technical Committee that was appointed to oversee the development of new assessment processes for overseas trained doctors seeking medical registration in Australia.

Mr David Swan
Chief Executive Department of Health and Ageing South Australia

Panel Member: Looking to the Future – Sustainable Solutions

Mr Swan has over 27 years’ experience as a chief executive in the public and private health care system in Australia, including two years as Chief Executive of the Southern Adelaide Health Service and over four years as Chief Executive of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. He has also been the National Executive Director of Calvary Healthcare Group, responsible for a range of public and private hospitals in four Australian states. He is the HWA board member for South Australia.

Mr Ben Veness 
President AMSA

Panel Member: Looking to the Future – Sustainable Solutions

Ben is President and Chairman of the Australian Medical Students’ Association, which represents Australia’s 17,000 medical students. He is currently enrolled in a Master of Public Health at The University of Sydney, and will complete his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery in 2014. He served two consecutive terms as a Fellow of the University’s Senate from 2010 to 2012.

He holds a Bachelor of Accounting from UTS, became a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has 6 years’ experience across Group Strategy at Westpac and in finance/accounting roles at Westpac, Unilever and Macquarie Bank.

Ben is also a Federal Councillor of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), a Councillor of the AMA (New South Wales) and a member of the AMA (NSW)’s Audit Committee.

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
Comments are closed.