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PM stops Fuad’s internship move

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday ordered Health Minister Fuad Khan to stop his plan to extend the period of internship for graduating University of the West Indies, St Augustine, medical students, from one year to two, following a meeting with students at the Diplomatic Centre, Port-of-Spain. A release from the PM’s office said Khan had instead been asked to pursue broader and deeper consultations with all stakeholders involved before pressing ahead with any plan.


The PM said: “Following a meeting with stakeholders affected by the proposal this morning, I noted the legitimate concerns raised in the medical profession in response to the proposal. “While changes are necessary, it must be informed by meaningful dialogue and consultation with all interested parties, including the Faculty of Medical Sciences, the Medical Professionals Association of T&T (MPATT) and most importantly the students themselves. 


“Students are enrolled to read for the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree on the basis that the period of internship would be for one year. “This is in fact what obtains in other campuses of the University of the West Indies (Mona, Cave Hill and Bahamas). “They may therefore enjoy a legitimate expectation and contractual entitlement to be allowed to complete their qualification and training on this basis.”


Following a meeting with students and UWI lecturers last week, Khan had given the lecturers one week to come up with proposals for how the process should go forward. This came despite the fact that students and lecturers had complained that there were no talks prior to the announcement of its implementation and that they felt it was being thrust on them.


Yesterday, the PM agreed with those sentiments, saying: “A deeper conversation must take place to facilitate a more meaningful and involved process of dialogue and consultation on this sensitive matter and allow for a report to be submitted to the Cabinet.”