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Fuad: Reports of 2-year internship false
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan has condemned what he says are erroneous reports that he intends to subject medical interns who are not from the University of the West Indies to a two-year internship programme. Speaking to reporters at the Hyatt Regency yesterday, Khan sought to clarify the misinformation circulated in a daily paper on Monday. He said: “Never have I ever said, or in any interview, that the interns who are non-UWI interns would have to go through a two-year internship.
“What I said was foreign interns usually have to do three years of temporary registration, which is not in keeping with equal action meted out to UWI interns.” Khan continued: “However, since I do have them for three years, I would put in place a structured education programme that is similar to the system that I was going to institute for the UWI interns.”
Two weeks ago, Khan announced the new Medical Foundation House Officer Programme, which proposed a two-year course with increased focus on training in emergency and resuscitative procedures, administrative duties and critical care. Following objections by the interns and the advice of the Prime Minister, Khan decided to shelve that proposal.
“I never said anything about a second-year internship. After the first year, what they have is a temporary registration permit and they have to stay in the hospitals so I can structure the programme during that time,” he added. Asked how discussions with medical organisations and other stakeholders were proceeding, Khan said: “It is in progress and we are developing the ideas as we speak. I just want to clear up that misconception, there is no two-year internship for anyone.
“What there is and will be, is the development and start of a structured educational programme with the temporary registration of the non-UWI medical students. If UWI interns want to join, so be it but there is no two-year internship for anyone.” Revealing that he had spoken with Dr Samuel Ramsewak, dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences, UWI—who is also president of the Medical Council of T&T—Khan said: “He understands there is a need for structured training for all doctors and specialists.”
Responding to questions about his claim that the new programme was being introduced as a result of the findings in the Cottle Report, and subsequent statements by neonatologist Dr Petronella Manning-Alleyne that senior doctors were at fault, Khan said: “Before a doctor becomes a senior doctor, he becomes a junior doctor, and we need to train our juniors better.”