The WA Department of Health has fast-tracked medical students to boost intern numbers at Fiona Stanley Hospital.

The Chair of the Postgraduate Medical Council of WA and departmental medical workforce adviser, Dr Marg Sturdy, said that 23 junior doctors started work at FSH in early November instead of January.

She said what started as an idea at a forum of the Deans of the Medical Schools and Directors of Postgraduate Medical Education at the major hospitals, developed into a multi-agency collaboration to address staffing gaps at Perth’s major hospitals.

After canvassing the feasibility of an early start to internship, FSH agreed to test the waters.

“Junior doctor vacancies in WA hospitals are not an uncommon occurrence in the second half of the year,” Dr Sturdy said.

With COVID affecting the number of northern hemisphere junior doctors heading south and restricted flights and borders and all the Medical Board and visa issues that arise, the fast-tracking seemed a good solution.

“The medical schools initially contacted the final year medical students who had indicated their preference for internship at Fiona Stanley to see if there was appetite for an early start, and around 25 were interested,” said Dr Sturdy.

PMCWA and the Medical Board agreed that provisional registration could be granted as soon as the medical schools confirmed the students had successfully completed all the requirements of their medical degree and were eligible to graduate.

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