O Week 2018
- On March 12, 2018
- March/April 2018
O Week 2018
It's another record-breaking year for intern placements in NSW – as 999 interns join the medical workforce.
The State welcomed 999 interns – up from 992 in 2017 – into the health system in January.
As the number of new doctors slowly creeps up, so has the State's funding. NSW Health invested $107 million in the internship program to help bolster numbers – particularly in regional areas.
Under the NSW Rural Preferential Recruitment pathway, 132 medical graduates will spend the majority of their first two years working in a rural hospital.
While the aim is to increase the number of doctors working in regional and rural locations, the Australian Medical Students' Association has flagged that the primary obstacle to addressing the rural workforce shortage is a lack of postgraduate training positions.
"Rural hospitals lack opportunities for students to complete specialist training. Even after completing a rural internship, I will still have to return to the city to train further, just at the time of my life when I hope to be starting a family and settling down," said Candice Day, a representative from the AMSA's Rural Health Committee.
"The best bang for your buck is to invest in keeping junior doctors rural after internship," Ms Day added.
In a recent AMSA survey of more than 1500 students, 70% indicated they were interested in working in regional, rural or remote areas. In 2017, there were more than 100 applications for 16 internship positions in the rural NSW centre of Orange.
"There is already a lot of interest in rural practice from medical students, but there are still barriers. We need to focus on ways to allow junior doctors to come here and to stay," Ms Day said. "The key is keeping junior doctors in the country after internship by giving them the opportunity to train to be specialists, GPs, or rural generalists in rural hospitals."
AMSA also used O Week as an opportunity to call on Federal, State and Territory health ministers to implement a national mandatory reporting framework that supports the mental health of doctors and students.
AMSA President Alex Farrell said, "It's often overlooked that these laws harm not just doctors but medical students as well. Last year we experienced a tragic trend of medical student suicides, and changing these laws is crucial to improving the situation. Medical students need to be supported and the current laws prevent students and doctors from accessing help."
THE ALLIANCE The AMA (NSW)/ASMOF (NSW) Alliance welcomed 2018 interns into the medical profession by meeting this year's crop of new doctors at their individual hospitals across the State.
Members of the Doctors-in-Training Committee, as well as the ASMOF State Medical Officers Group and Alliance representatives, visited 21 hospitals during O Week, including John Hunter Hospital, Gosford, Port Macquarie, Concord, Tamworth, Westmead, Hornsby, RPA, St Vincents, St George, Blacktown, Lismore, Nepean, Orange, Royal North Shore Hospital, Coffs Harbour, Wollongong, Prince of Wales, Tweed, Bankstown, Liverpoool.
The visits were an opportunity to introduce interns to the benefits available to Alliance members, which include quality industrial services, support for doctors' health and wellbeing, advocacy on important issues such as the training pipeline, and the annual Hospital Health Check survey, which rates hospitals on five different performance areas: overtime and rostering, access to leave, wellbeing, education and training, and morale and culture.
Lastly, interns were invited to participate in some of our exciting events, such as the upcoming Intern Networking and Social Night, to be held Thursday 8 March at The Grifter Brewing Co in Marrickville. Register at amansw.com.au