My Soapbox

I meant to do so many things with myself this week. I had an easy week uni-wise and over the last weekend had bought myself a couple of meters of interfacing to make some new Sandi ID Wallets. I even managed to cut 15 plastic pockets and 15+ fabric templates and double that in interfacing and linings in preparation.

So with a solid pile of things to sew and lots of study time at uni, I was gearing myself up to get a bunch of new ID wallets done during my relatively free evenings; until I ran head first into a wall. This blog for the most part is a craft and sometimes food blog with the occasional glimpse into my disorganised life.

Even sewing ID wallets today has been especially trying; even with all the pre-cut prep work I did. I tried to sew something for myself but I realised how difficult it is to figure out your size from the back of the sewing pattern. Needless to say the peplum top I envisioned is wayyyyy too big and weird looking to even contemplate fixing. At least I don't have a naked duct tape dress form sitting in front of my window anymore! 

So at my wits end and feeling incredibly frustrated with the Australian education system and the government, and their inability to fix problems logically, I'm hoping I can convince you to sign a petition. The short version is that despite the fact that Australia has a doctor shortage especially in rural areas, this year over 500 medical student graduates will miss out on internship training positions, and thus be unable to obtain their qualification as a doctor. I will hopefully graduate next year in 2013, when there will be 400 more medical students graduating than there is this year. Both federal and state governments contribute to funding public hospitals which in turn hire interns. This year's budget was released with almost no mention of increased funding to solve the internship crisis that is facing medical students. 

The back story is that the government decided that the best way to solve a doctor shortage was to increase the number of medical students. Fair enough. The problem lies with the fact that universities have exponentially increased their medical student intake with almost no regulation. Almost double in 10 years. There were 1660 medical graduates in 2000 and last year in 2011, there were 3028 graduates. This year there will be 3,512 graduates, 3,623 in 2013 and 3,935 in 2015. Given the fact that medical graduates are not qualified to work without a one year post-graduate internship, failure to accommodate the increasing student numbers means that we will have a whole heap of medical graduates with no job and basically no qualifications whilst at the other end of the spectrum there will be an ever increasing doctor shortage. Reason would dictate that you solve that middle part so that the medical graduates can progress to doctors, and to do that you need to increase internship places.

Med school is hard, don't let anyone else convince you other wise. You study for five/six/seven years as a medical student and then graduate, work as an intern and then study for at least another ten years before you become fully qualified in your specialty. If your lucky enough to get into your chosen specialty the first time round, if not you may hang around for a little longer. As students we willingly jump through these hoops so we can become doctors, so we can practice a profession we are passionate about and help people.  It's more than disheartening to realise that all the effort you put in to studying, into honing your examination skills and putting your life on hold means nothing if you can't attain an internship position. 
Australia spend a significant amount of the healthcare budget poaching overseas trained doctors (and even overseas trained nurses) to fulfill shortages in our workforce, satisfying the short-term requirements with NO forward planning at all. The first to miss out on internship places is always international students, which is incredibly unfair. International students pay at the very least $200,000 for their medical school education and would happily work in the Australian healthcare system to help doctor shortages. Instead we kick them out of the country after using their money to fund domestic students places and then poach doctors from their home country to come here instead. So instead of convincing international students who have trained in and are knowledgeable about the Australian healthcare system to stay, we hire doctors trained in an overseas healthcare system to retrain in Australia all because they have undergone their internship year already. Commonsense would dictate that we increase internship positions so that Australia can have a self sustaining healthcare system.
This is a summary from the Australian Medical Students' Association, I'm sure their words are more succinct than mine: 

Why has this happened?

  • Lack of workforce planning from Federal and State Governments to ensure internships and further medical training places are aligned with the number of medical graduates
  • Lack of regulation from Federal Government allowing universities to determine the numbers of full-fee students with no central oversight
  • Inadequate Federal Government funding for medical schools contributes to medical schools recruitment of additional full-fee students
  • Medical schools recruiting numbers of international students well beyond number of available internships
  • Inadequate communication from some medical schools to prospective international students about likelihood of obtaining internship
  • State governments being reluctant to fund internships for number of medical graduates they cannot control
  • State governments providing inadequate funding for Postgraduate Medical Councils to accredit internship positions for total number of graduates
Thanks for reading whilst I stand on my soapbox and rant. I'm not too sure if you have to be Australian to sign, but you fill in your address anyways so they can exclude if your not. Please click the link to sign the petition and support an increase in medical internship places actually help ease the doctor shortage.

Thanks and happy crafting!
Ps. Would love to hear your opinions

mel@all.wrapped.up Web Developer

The indecisive crafter


  1. Good on you for sharing Mel! I have signed the petition and good luck with your studies!

    1. Hi Amanda,

      Thanks for the support it means a lot!

      Happy Crafting.