IF GOVERNMENTS are serious about solving the doctors’ shortage in regional and rural areas, then they must fund the extra internships which will allow medical graduates to continue their training and finalise their qualifications.
The situation which has emerged that 180 Australian-trained medical students will not secure internships means the system in place is out of kilter and a serious planning failure.
Bluntly, it is bordering on incompetence.
A system which allows students to undertake their long and arduous medical studies to qualify as doctors only to have their training stopped due a shortfall in internships not only fails the students, but the community as well, particularly rural and regional areas which are crying out for additional doctors.
The 180 graduates who are missing out are international students who want to stay in Australia to work.
The irony here is many regional and rural centres have been dependent on foreign-trained doctors to fill doctor vacancies.
The federal government wants the states and territory governments to fund the extra internships in state-run hospitals next year.
While the cost of the internships has not been disclosed, forcing medical students who have studied in Australia overseas to complete their training robs Australia of an opportunity to bolster its doctor workforce.
Regional and rural centres desperate for more doctors have been told repeatedly over the years that the problem can not be fixed under more doctors have been trained.
That is now occurring, but only providing half the training achieves nothing.
Funding the additional placements provides the system with an opportunity to incorporate country practice as a requirement following registration as a doctor.
All we need here is the state and federal governments and the medical fraternity working together on a positive outcome.
After all the talk, Barnaby Joyce’s bid to move to the House of Representatives at the next federal election by standing as the endorsed Nationals candidate for either the seat of New England or the Queensland seat of Maranoa has amounted to nothing.
Having not contested the New England pre-selection ballot, Senator Joyce announced yesterday he would not be standing against Maranoa’s sitting member Bruce Scott in the party’s pre-selection ballot.
In a statement yesterday he also declared the opinion polls were “narrowing” and the next federal election will “be a very tight race”, a concession that the Opposition still has work to do to secure government.