Not enough doctors so we’re forcing them interstate?

johnboy 4 August 2008 8

[First filed: July 26, 2008 @ 09:08]

Now here’s a story that somehow was inevitable would have Katy Gallagher’s name on it.

The Canberra Times reports that graduates from the new Canberra medical school are being sent inter-state contrary to their wishes.

The problem, it seems, is that because we don’t have enough (yes that’s right) medical graduates we have to use a NSW allocation system which then sends even more of our graduates away.

One would think it is not too late to negotiate a solution to this impasse.

Remember Katy, it’s election year.

UPDATED: Katy has indeed been paying attention. She’s announced that a solution has been found:

    Following ongoing discussions and negotiation with the NSW Institute of Medical Education and Training (IMET) ACT Minister for Health, Katy Gallagher MLA, has informed local students that recruitment action will be undertaken to enable ANU Medical School graduates to apply directly for internships with ACT Health for 2009.

Well done.

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8 Responses to Not enough doctors so we’re forcing them interstate?
celtickangaroo celtickangaroo 1:35 pm 30 Jul 08


The BIG problem with the IMET systme is that there is only one round of Offers. So as between 8-14 ANU MED GRADS have gained a place at TCH and also gained places in there home states (SA, VIC, QLD) they will not accept there places at TCH under the NSW Imet system. So the 14 odd ANU students that have not been allocated TCH but do want to stay can not fill the positions allocated to other students that will now not be filled. If there was a second round TCH could open up these 8-14 positions to Canberra trained doctors wanting to stay. BUT becuse they cant these positions will now be filled by people from other systems and most likely international doctors. apparently they are having a big meeting today to try and fix this up. but that will propbably be for the benifit of the 2009 grads. Also the most of the 14 or so that missed canberra are in relationships as it is a post grad course the average age is higher than an undergrad. The partners of these doctors, Mostly professionals will also be forced to leave Canberra. But I guess its lucky Canberra has such a deep pool of proffessionals sitting idle waiting for thier chance to enter the work force.

pelican pelican 9:30 pm 26 Jul 08

State and Federal governments made a big mistake a while back limiting the number of places for medical students. The roll-on effects, given the length of the Degree, will be with us for a while. A shortage would indicate a need for more places at university rather than just robbing doctors from OS.

It seems a shame that we are taking good doctors away from developing countries that desperately need them.

Sometimes beds are not the problem, but shortage of nurses to staff particular areas at any given time (particularly labour intensive areas like ICU).

teepee teepee 8:34 pm 26 Jul 08

Can anyone fill me in on what the deal is with foreign doctors and nurses at TCH?

The few times I’ve had to go in I have been amazed at the high proportion of overseas staff, particularly on the nightshift and with a large number from Africa. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with us plucking the top graduates from overseas, if that is what we do. But what I wonder is what medical tests and benchmarking is done to qualify them for Australian practice? And what language testing and competency is required? I’ve had problems getting through to one nurse and it really was a question of language comprehension, not what was being communicated or how.

gun street girl gun street girl 3:26 pm 26 Jul 08

No, they need more beds. Lots more of them.

sepi sepi 3:24 pm 26 Jul 08

The article did make the psych ward sound like a nasty place to work. What it mostly seems to need is some security staff. and they don’t need 6 year’s training – why not just hire some ASAP.

gun street girl gun street girl 3:17 pm 26 Jul 08

Firstly, interns are not qualified to staff a specialty psychiatric ward. You need psychiatry trainees, psychiatrists and psyche nurses to do that – and to achieve that aim, you need to make the institution appealing to work in, which, at present, it is not. Secondly, it’s not just a matter of “creating more intern positions”. For a hospital to be accredited to receive pre-vocational doctors, they must provide adequate terms and training, as a medical student only graduates with a basic set of skills and knowledge, upon which they must build _at least_ a further six years’ worth of vocational training (not unlike an apprenticeship). As a result, a hospital is limited in the number of good training terms it can sufficiently provide. A hospital of TCH’s size and infrastructure can’t provide limitless numbers of positions.

sepi sepi 2:13 pm 26 Jul 08

In the very same paper there’s an article about hows they can’t get enough drs and nurses to staff the 30 bed psych ward.

Can’t we just create more intern poisitions??

gun street girl gun street girl 11:48 am 26 Jul 08

ACT internship allocation has always been bound to the NSW system. It gives graduates from the ACT (who, until recently, originated from Sydney University – TCH has only been the bastion of the ANU for a few years) equal footing for employment in the NSW system along with NSW graduates. Consequently, a NSW graduate who wishes to work in the ACT has as much chance of getting a job here as an ANU graduate (and vice-versa, in the case of an ACT grad wanting to work in Sydney). It is also worth mentioning that the ANU graduates more students than there are intern jobs available for them in the ACT system. As such, there will always be a substantial few who miss out, even if and when the ACT breaks with IMET’s ballot.

Retaining junior doctors in the ACT is a larger issue that the Government just doesn’t seem to understand. Watch this space.

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