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Labor promises 60 intern places

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The AMA welcomed the Government’s $8 million package to fund 60 intern places next year in regional and rural hospitals.

AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton said the one-off package by the Commonwealth provides certainty for some graduates but all governments have more to do to ensure that the long-term medical training pipeline is guaranteed.

“The AMA has warned for some time that some graduates from Australian medical schools could miss out on an intern place in 2014 because of growing medical graduate numbers,” Dr Hambleton said.

“The new places announced by Minister Plibersek are very welcome as another step in reaching the medical training targets that are necessary to meet future community health care needs.

“All State and Territory Governments must work cooperatively with the Commonwealth so that the expected 3500 students graduating from medical schools across the country this year are able to access essential intern training in 2014.

“We are yet to see a comprehensive long-term policy on medical workforce training from either party during this election campaign.

“The Commonwealth has invested heavily in the expansion of medical school places, with more than 3800 graduates expected each year by 2016, but we now need a firm plan to meet demand beyond that period.

“All the major parties must commit to a plan to address the shortfall in prevocational and specialist training places projected by Health Workforce Australia (HWA).”

As part of its health policy announcement last week, the Coalition announced funding for 100 new intern places a year in private hospitals and non-traditional settings.  The bidding war has commenced.

John Flannery