By NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell
I recently met with a group of medical graduates at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital during their orientation day. They were some of the record number of graduates to commence year-long internships in our State’s public hospitals in 2014.
Interns from Auburn Hospital were also on hand on the day, and interns from Orange and Coffs Harbour Hospitals participated via teleconference. Together they form the Westnet intern training network, which caters to about 12 per cent of the State’s intern rotation.
NSW employs more interns than any other State or Territory in Australia and this year’s record 959 intern training places is up an additional 32 places on last year. We are also the only state or territory in the country to guarantee jobs for new doctors during the first two years of their careers.
Guiding the next generation of new doctors through the initial stages of their careers not only provides them with the support they need to develop professionally, but also ensures the NSW Government can maintain a first class health system.
Entry standards for Medicine at NSW universities are high and the candidate selection process is extremely competitive. These standards ensure we are able to offer internships to the best candidates from NSW, interstate and overseas.
The interns will be exposed to a full gamut of medical scenarios as they move through the NSW hospital network this year, and will be required to complete terms in the specialties of medicine, surgery and emergency.
There are a variety of rotations covering the largest tertiary and metropolitan hospitals, regional and rural hospitals, GP practices, and one private hospital – the Sydney Adventist Hospital at Wahroonga.
Westmead Hospital has been allocated the highest number of interns for a Sydney-based hospital with 70 graduates starting in 2014. Nepean Hospital will cater for 50 interns, followed by Royal Prince Alfred and Liverpool both with 45, and St George and Royal North Shore hospitals will both play host to 44 graduates.
Additionally, the Rural Preferential Recruitment Scheme, which is unique to this State, will see 82 interns spend most of their first two years as doctors working in rural NSW.
The diversity within our ranks of doctors will also be strengthened by the Eleven Aboriginal medical graduates also make up this year’s group. They were selected as part of the Building Capacity of the Aboriginal Medical Workforce in NSW intern recruitment pathway, and will strengthen diversity within our future doctor workforce.
The internship program is an integral part of the NSW Government’s $105 million annual investment in frontline health services. We’re proud of this investment and our commitment to helping graduates make the transition from university to our medical facilities has led to this year’s record intern intake.
Orientation day marked an important milestone for these interns, and I hope it also marks the beginning of many long and fruitful careers in the NSW health system.