Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Internships: elephant in the room

Will I ever get to see a gomer?

Like many countries, Australia has looked to improve the supply of local medics / break the power of the medics (depending on your outlook) by increasing the number of medical students. Massively.

This has been done both by increasing the number of places in existing medical schools and by allowing new med schools to be set up. This has been done by the Federal Government.

Thing is, following your MBBS, you need to spend time as an intern to be accredited. Without the internship, there's not a lot of clinical practice you can do. Thing is, the State Governments look after the provision of internships.

It will not surprise many to hear that the two levels of government have not coordinated their efforts which means that there'll be lots and lots more medical students by 2012 but only a few more internships.

As things stand, it's likely that:

- Overseas students will be told to go home (after dropping A$300k on an education here)
- Inerstate graduates will be told to go home (!)
- "Non-traditional" internships will appear (GP, research, private hospital)
- At some point, there will be an MTAS style system to replace the current ballot (you think your grades don't matter... then they suddenly do)
- You'll be reading about nice middle class children being unable to find a career.
- Overseas applications will not be accepted (goodbye, escape route from the UK).

The depressing thing is, I've seen all this already in the UK. At least then, UK grads could kid themselves they could come to Australia. Not after 2010 they can't according to a letter to Sydney Uni med students (I'll try to upload this letter later).

The worst thing is that my fellow students don't realise this. Most overseas students don't realise this, which is worse for them because their home countries have just the same problem and probably won't let them come home for an internship because they are overseas trained.

I did a lot of research on this issue before taking the plunge and going back to study. I'll try and summarise this info in a few posts rather than all in one go.

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