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4 Comments

  1. 1
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    Aaron Sparshott

    Thank you Melissa again, for continually sharing this issue with the greater public.

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  2. 2
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    SBH

    cuppla a points.

    1 We are talking about people able to pay substantial amounts of money to undertake the premier tertiary course offered by universities. The outcome for these students will be a lifetime of significantly higher earnings than the average. Why does it follow that the state should continue to provide uncapped support for this activity. It can’t and shouldn’t. The ‘rent seeking’ side of this argument is under-developed.

    2 International students choose to come to Australia to study in full knowledge that intern places are limited. If they don’t know that then their enrolling university has sold them a pup. It’s a bit rich for international students to sign up for a course, knowing they only have a 2:3 chance of getting an intern place and then complain that Australia at large is letting them down. A useful question might be why they didn’t choose to study at home?

    3 What capacity is there in the system? Nationally, the number of graduates increased from 1,633 in 2006 to approximately 3,500 in 2012. There are about 3,065 intern training posts in 2013 for 3,253 applicants (2,855 domestic students and a further 398 international students). Is this rate of growth sustainable and will it continue to produce the level of competent professionals we need?

    It is simply dishonest to frame this issue as the answer or partial answer to our doctor shortage. It is an argument about self interest and an attempt to manipulate a system you didn’t like but agreed to be part of. International students knew what they were getting when they signed up and the addition of this number will not solve Australia’s long-term heath workforce needs.

    I await the upper-middle class outrage.

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  3. 3
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    Nicholas Parker

    Dear SBH,
    Outrage? No, we don’t feel that. Your opinion on this matter was something we expect. It is attractive, I know, to hate the so-called “elite”. I understand how you feel, but please allow me to comment on your points, one by one.

    1. We are not, by any means, people “able” to pay these substantial sums of money. I, and I know of few colleagues who do share this situation, have taken a 400 000$ loan against my parents’ house; a second mortgage. Most of us were, sadly, not members of the “upper-middle class”. At the completion of our degree here, in fact, we are financially several “classes” lower.

    2. We did not come here with this knowledge; at the very least we were misinformed. Medical degrees in Australia are marketed very aggressively in Canada. No, I do not have anything in writing which says I am guaranteed an internship, but this was most enthusiastically implied. If it were not, we all would have gone to medical school in the United States, where internships are granted by merit, and not by nationality.

    3. Regarding capacity – have you ever been to a private hospital? Or to a rural hospital?

    In conclusion, you may not like us because we are foreign, or maybe because we are highly educated. But do not confuse us with people that are privileged, or with people that aren’t devoted to the health and well-being of Australians like you.

    Sincerely,
    Nicholas Parker, MBBS(Syd 2013)

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  4. 4
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    SBH

    Dear Nicholas,

    You make an unjustified and somewhat odious extrapolation. Nowhere do I say ‘hate’ nor state, nor imply that I dislike foreign students nor that I hold antipathy towards people with an education. Your baseless imputation is rejected utterly.

    My objection to the arguments advanced is an objection to the view that the entitlement you feel should over ride any other public policy consideration and the cloaking or confusion of this self interest with the medical needs of the Australian population.

    1 – You are factually incorrect. You are ‘able’ to pay. The evidence for this is that you do pay. We all make decisions about how to use our money and you made yours. To talk about your income upon qualifying is specious. The lifetime benefit of your degree will be substantial and – lets be honest – one of the reasons you chose medicine. You do not deal at all with the issue of how much money the state should continue to pour into internship training or whether at some point this use of tax dollars should have a limit. Is this not an important question?

    2 – If your enrolling university guaranteed you an intern place, I suggest you take steps to hold them to that promise. If they sold you a product knowing they were unable to deliver, I suggest you take action to recover your loss. If you didn’t make adequate enquiries about the course being offered then you only have yourself to blame. Caveat emptor?

    As a digression I note your point that you choose to come here where you thought or assumed that an internship was guaranteed rather than go to the States and compete for one on ‘merit’.

    3 – I simply can’t respond because this doesn’t make sense. You make no comment on the sustainability of the system. To reiterate my original point, the ‘system’ does not have unlimited capacity to provide training places.

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