Record numbers cause headaches as medical interns battle for spots
Around 100 NSW medical graduates are likely to miss out on internships this year, despite a record number of junior doctors landing jobs at the state’s public hospitals.
Nearly 960 graduates began their internships this month, nd an increase of 32 positions since last year and about double the number of places available in 2007.
But despite this, a ”tsunami” of medical graduates is outstripping the number of positions available, forcing international students to go overseas and interstate to find work, Australian Medical Students’ Association president Jessica Dean said.
”There’s been a massive increase in the number of medical students, which is why we are getting this bottleneck effect in training colleges and internships,” Ms Dean said.
She said about 100 students could fail to gain a place, a number that is likely to rise next year.
International graduates – who paid about $200,000 for their degrees – are most at risk because internships are only guaranteed to local Commonwealth-supported and full-fee paying students.
”Without an internship, you’re not qualified as a doctor,” Ms Dean said. ”Students from the US, Canada, Malaysia and Singapore have to go elsewhere for work.”
Sydney-born graduate, Alex Wilton – one of 43 people to land a role at Randwick’s Prince of Wales Hospital – said he was ”very lucky” to start his career in his first-preference hospital. This week, the 25-year-old Sydney University graduate, who lives in Coogee, began his rotation in the same hospital as his housemates Richard Goldschmidt, 26, and Michael Spies, 24.
”We’re all really happy,” he said. ”An inner-city hospital like Prince of Wales is so sought after and the chances of us all getting a place where we wanted was pretty slim.”
He said the ”big wave” of medical students finishing university means not everyone can get a place in a hospital.
A spokesman for the Health Education and Training Institute, which allocates internships, said 1470 students applied for internships in NSW in the 2014 clinical year, with about 50 international students receiving positions.
A representative for HETI’s advisory subcommittee, the Junior Medical Officer Forum, Zac Turner, said this left about 100 international students without a job.
A spokesman at NSW Health said all NSW domestic graduates were successful in gaining a place.
University of Sydney’s medical society president, Rahul Chatterjee, said the majority of international students would stay if offered roles. ”They’ve spent five years studying here so it’s a big thing for them to move,” he said.