The Australian | 13 October 2012
A confidential Victorian government document reveals that the careers of up to 260 doctors-in-training could come to a grinding halt next year because they have not been able to obtain supervised positions in hospitals. They include over 90 graduates of Victorian universities, about half of them domestic students who completed their degrees in 2010 or 2011.
Doctors say it is the first time they have seen a shortage of places for hospital medical officers, or HMOs, and warn the problem will spread to NSW and Queensland. Medical graduates could be forced overseas, exacerbating the doctor shortage and squandering millions of dollars spent to train Australian medical students.
A glut in medical graduate numbers has precipitated a shortage of internships, with the Commonwealth and state governments arguing about who should fund 180 intern places needed by international students graduating this year from Australian universities. However, according to AMA vice president Geoffrey Dob the problem had spilt over into subsequent years of training.
This isn’t just an intern year issue – it affects the whole medical training pipeline. As states (implement) freezes or cutbacks in medical positions in public hospitals, the risk that we won’t be able to employ all the doctors in Australia is increasing. It’s a problem that’s been coming for the last five years – people have essentially sat on their hands and failed to address it.