The Ministry of Health is looking to expand its internship programme into polyclinics and private hospitals across the island.
Minister of Health John Boyce made this disclosure today in the House of Assembly while speaking on the Caribbean Accreditation Authority Education in Medicine and Other Health Professionals (Incorporation) Bill, 2016.
He pointed out that currently there are 36 interns who have found places at the state-run Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in areas of obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery, internal medicine and paediatrics. However, the minister said almost every year there were at least five graduates from the Medical School at Cave Hill who could not find places at the QEH to do their internships.
In an attempt to address the issue, the Member of Parliament for Christ Church South said the Ministry of Health was now looking beyond the QEH for the provision of internships.
“I am comfortable in my mind and in discussion with professionals that this arrangement can be rolled out. We may also be able to create opportunities in our private hospitals because we are seeing an increase in the number of facilities, which offer services in our health care industry. Maybe our private hospitals can be considered as an interim solution to the problem,” he said.
However, the minister acknowledged that an immediate challenge for private hospitals may be the payment of the salaries to interns, as is currently done by Government.
He therefore suggested that there would have to be some arrangement between Government and the private institutions to come to a satisfactory solution.
“It obviously pains to have to sit and speak with graduates who are unable to find places. We have worked both internationally and regionally to try to find other spaces and we have been successful in a couple of our efforts, but sadly there are still graduates who have not yet found places.
“It is the charge of this administration to ensure that a solution is put in place as soon as possible,” Boyce said.