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Milton Caot Memorial Hospital

Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. (iWN photo)

The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is not obligated to provide internships for persons who graduate with degrees in medicine, but must complete an internship before they can practice on their own.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves made the observation, on Monday, as he responded to a question about five Vincentians who have completed medical programmes in Cuba but have been waiting for years to secure an internship.

“In no country in the Caribbean can the state provide the assurance that every person who graduates in medicine will get an internship, because that’s a position which is a paid position and which has to be budgeted for,” Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance, told a press conference.

“However, having said that, we must always make a very special effort, the state that is, to ensure that those whom we have sent away to study in medicine that we provide internship for them,” he added.

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Reports are that the government has added some nine new internship positions since 2004, but these are not enough to accommodate the nation’s graduates in medicine.

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Gonsalves said some students get internship at other places, adding that a student who studies as the University of the West Indies in Jamaica might get an internship at a state scholarship.

“Different persons, they apply different places, but, clearly, the state should make an especial effort,” said Gonsalves, who told the media that he was not aware of the situation until it was reported in the media.

“So, I’m awaiting a report and on Wednesday I will ask [Minister of Health] Luke [Browne] — or if I get the chance before…

“But it is an important question and I’d like to find out, for instance, when did the students apply.”

The prime minister said he would urge students to apply for internships a good distance before they graduate.

“If you know you are going to graduate, say, in July 2016, I would expect that sometime before July 2016 you would indicate that you are graduating and tentatively you can apply for a position.”

He said a discussion could then take place in the Ministry of Health regarding how many additional positions it would ask the Ministry of Finance for.

“I would hope that we can get them sorted out, but I wanted, first and foremost, to make the general declaratory statement that there is not an obligation on the part of any government to provide the internship, but that we must make a very special effort that they be give that opportunity to have internships,” Gonsalves said.

“It’s painful, clearly, for students to study for all these years and don’t then have somewhere where they can do their internship in order to move forward with their profession,” he said.

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2 replies on “Gov’t not obligated to provide internships for medicine graduates — PM”

  1. Don’t know procedure but if government not responsible to provide internship for budding doctors, why is it there are several medical colleges in SVG. Isn’t there have to be concrete agreement between the illegal government and these college to use the hospital for interns? Hadn’t that been in place, do one think these medical colleges would have brought their business here? Enlighten us Ralph Gonsalves.

  2. Avatar Of KaribbeankatKaribbeanKat says:

    Anita the medical schools in SVG do not get to send their students to the Kingstown hospital for internship. To start with there are just too many of them.

    There are dozens if not hundreds of medical students from SVG schools in the US who cannot get internships because the US system make students from the Caribbean second class graduates and give places in preference to US trained graduates. The only school who do not experience this problem is St Georges who were chased out of SVG.

    I know several students trained in SVG who cannot get a positions in US hospitals.

    Without this facility graduates cannot become general practitioners or medical specialists, their years of study are wasted. The schools do not tell the students of this problem, they continues taking their fees and one is even stuffing them into accommodation that the school is earning more money from.

    Students take out huge bank loans to pay the schools and then find themselves dumped once they graduate. They are unable to repay their bank loans.

    Remember our government encouraged Vincentians to go to medical school in Cuba. That may be even worse than going to medical school in SVG. Because no other country wants to take you into their hospitals for intern training if you are Cuban trained. Now we even learn that when they return to SVG they cannot get internship. But students who trained in local medical schools cannot get internship in SVG either and perhaps they should be first in line anyway.

    The whole matter is an absolute disgrace.

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