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25 Jan 2017

Media Release 

Wednesday, 25 January 2017 

AMSA: Australian-trained doctors unable to fully qualify as internship shortage hits 

As new medical interns take to the wards this week around Australia, dozens of graduates remain stranded without jobs.  

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA), the peak representative body for Australia’s 17,000 medical students, said that despite the undersupply of doctors in rural and regional Australia, future doctors continue to be lost due to the number of medical students coming through the ranks exceeding available internship and vocational training positions.

“It is disappointing for someone to work so hard for up to seven years of medical school, only to be unable to formalise their qualification as a doctor,” AMSA President, Rob Thomas, said today.

“In 2016, there were 3648 graduates with only 3413 total internship positions being made available. With increased medical student numbers, these figures are set to worsen.”

Dr Jian Shen Ong, who graduated from the University of Western Australia, spent part of his medical degree in rural areas such as Mullewa and Mandurah, WA.  Now left without a job, Dr Ong said: “I strongly believe that I have something to contribute to the Australian public having been trained in the health care system here and understanding its unique demands.”

“Having lived here for seven years, I have come to call Australia home.  I think it is a significant waste of resources if the government sanctions medical school places but doesn’t allow graduates to come into fruition.”

After studying for eight years in South Australia, University of Adelaide graduate Dr Pak Ho Yuen is now being forced to consider other options outside of medicine such as post-graduate studies or part-time work.

Another University of Western Australia graduate, Dr Brian Alosious, spent much of his medical degree giving back to the community by volunteering with St John’s Ambulance.  He developed a passion for rural health during his rotation in Three Springs, WA. 

Dr Alosious said: “I am keen to work in rural areas like Albany, given the opportunity.”

Dr Ong, Dr Yuen and Dr Alosious are three of many more graduates from Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales who have approached AMSA for support as their future remains uncertain.

“Sadly, these stories are what we are hearing more and more each year,” Mr Thomas said.

“Medical graduate numbers have more than doubled in the past 10 years, but internship and vocational training positions have not caught up to meet this oversupply.

“AMSA is committed to supporting its students in any way possible.

“It is unfair to see constant calls from politicians and universities for new medical schools or more medical student places when the system is already cracking under the pressure of our current graduates.”


Media Contact: Isabella Gosper


Phone: 0416 816 830


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Published: 25 Jan 2017