Macquarie medical school proposal irresponsible says students
Australian medical students are outraged at the ill-conceived plan announced by Macquarie University to launch a full fee-paying medical school next year.
The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) is the peak representative body for Australia’s 17,000 medical students and believes the proposed Macquarie medical school capitalises upon the aspirations of prospective students and will have severe repercussions.
AMSA President, Rob Thomas, says: “Macquarie’s plan will see students charged more than $250,000 for their medical degrees - more than triple the cost of most medical schools. Introducing this level of inequity to accessing medical education will significantly disadvantage aspiring students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
“Additionally, students left with this mortgage-sized debt will be driven towards higher-paid specialties in a time when we need more generalist doctors, particularly in rural and remote areas.
“Workforce projections show an expected surplus of 7,000 doctors already by 2030. In a state with already seven medical schools - four of which are in Sydney alone - Macquarie will only exacerbate this.
“With the ongoing issue of internship and training position shortages, it is irresponsible of Macquarie to not consider the downstream effects of their proposal on the medical training pathway. There is no guarantee that their graduates will get jobs.”
In another bizarre twist to the proposal, Macquarie students will be forced to spend 5 months of their clinical training in India.
Mr Thomas said, "It's clear from their statements that they can't find somewhere to train students in Australia, as training is already at capacity at our hospitals and increases are not warranted.
"We should be looking at important issues such as the maldistribution of doctors. Instead of placements in India or inner Sydney, students should be learning about serving rural and regional Australia. We fix the workforce pipeline by creating more specialty training in rural areas, not by opening high-cost programs to further flood the system.
"AMSA fears that Macquarie medical school will set a precedent for other public universities resulting in an impractical increase in medical student numbers that will not benefit the Australian health system, only the universities’ pockets.”
AMSA is calling upon the Australian Government to legislate a ban on public universities offering full fee places in medicine, and upon state governments to ensure private medical students do not displace current medical students from clinical placements.
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Published: 07 Aug 2017