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Progress on intern places but more to do

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Australian Medical Association Limited ABN 37 008 426 793

42 Macquarie Street, Barton ACT 2600: PO Box 6090, Kingston ACT 2604 Telephone: (02) 6270 5400 Facsimile (02) 6270 5499 Website :


AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today that the Commonwealth’s agreement with the Western Australian and Australian Capital Territory Governments to fund a total of 55 additional intern places in 2013 in both the public and private hospital sectors is great progress towards reaching a satisfactory national solution to the intern crisis.

Dr Hambleton said it is important now for all governments to act with goodwill to reach an agreement that will guarantee much-needed medical services in local communities across the country.

“Since the Commonwealth announced that it would provide funding to help address the projected shortfall of 180 intern places for 2013, we have seen a stalemate until today,” Dr Hambleton said.

“This has meant that many locally-trained medical graduates faced an uncertain future or the prospect of having to move overseas in order to continue practising medicine.

“This morning's announcement is promising, but we encourage Health Ministers to reach a deal to provide the remaining intern places that are needed so that all of these medical graduates have an opportunity to use their skills to provide quality health care in our towns and suburbs.

“Federal Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek, has shown great leadership on this issue.

“The AMA also congratulate those States and Territories that have recognised the need to keep these medical graduates in Australia as part of a strategy to address medical workforce shortages and reduce our long-term reliance on international medical graduates.

“It is important to recognise that the bigger medical workforce issue is much broader and is not just about intern training.

“We are now also seeing general shortages of pre-vocational training positions emerging.

“Health Workforce Australia has predicted a shortage of 450 first year specialist training places in 2016.

“Health Ministers still have more work to do.

“It is essential that a long-term and sustainable plan is developed to ensure that the record numbers of students graduating from medical schools across the country can go through to complete specialist training and deliver the medical services that the community needs now and into the future,” Dr Hambleton said.

9 November 2012

CONTACT: John Flannery 02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761