BM86: Medical education: a choice without a choice 

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As the national union of students Ukrainian Association of Students (UAS) is concerned about the high volume of appeals from medical university students. They are  outraged over the draft order of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, titled “On Amendments to Certain Regulatory Acts of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine”, which was published on March 11, 2024. 

Regarding the Regulation about internship approved by the Decree of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine of June 22, 2021 internship is a form of primary specialization of  persons in medical and pharmaceutical/pharmacy specialties to obtain the  qualification of a specialist doctor or pharmacist/pharmacy specialist. 

In other words, an internship – is a period of training spent in a hospital by a  young doctor in order to finish their medical qualification. Without this training,  they will not be able to become doctors. The duration of internship is approximately  1-3 years and it depends on our specialty.  

By 2024, state-funded students received a proposal about specialty and a certain  place for having an internship. In case of refusal, they had the possibility to  choose the place for internship in private healthcare institutions of departmental   subordination (Ministry of Health or National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine,  for instance). But the Ministry of Health of Ukraine published a draft of amendments to the regulations on internships in March 2024.  

The draft of amendments states that the  place and specialty of internships for state-funded students will be determined by  their educational institution based on their academic performance and the availability of relevant vacancies in the region. Previously, every state-funded student could refuse this allocation and sign a contract to do an internship at any hospital and in any specialty but pay by their own. Now they want to take this opportunity away from doctors. A state-funded students can only try to participate in  

the next year’s allocation, but cannot sign a contract in any case. 

The proposed changes should not be implemented and developed in the absence of the  31 participation of students, who are the direct and main participants in the  32 educational process. 

We ask for the postponement of this decision until next year and a new public  35 discussion with the mandatory participation of representatives of student self 36 government bodies of medical higher education institutions, the representation of  37 Ukrainian association of students as a national students union and the Ministry of  38 Health of Ukraine. 

Taking into account the opinion of representatives from local student unions from  41 Ukrainian medical universities, we have developed proposals for amending the draft  42 order of the Ministry of Health, such as: 

1. Revision of the training period for interns in accordance with the EU directive. 

2. Internships should take place in internship institutions that have accreditation certificates of the first and highest categories, are equipped with structural units, necessary medical equipment and highly qualified internship supervisors. 

3. It is essential to provide the possibility of internships at the place of service of mobilized students during martial law. 

4. The changes should be implemented in 2025 or even later, and graduates of 2024  

should be guided by the provisions of the Order of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine No. 805 of 13.05.2022 “On Amendments to the Order of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine No. 1254 of June 22, 2021”.  

On the path of Ukraine’s European integration, the decision of the Ministry is  questionable as it resembles the socialist approach of the Soviet era in higher education. Our main goal is to create favorable and equal conditions for medical graduates to complete their internships. 

Therefore, we, the European Students’ Union, together with the Ukrainian Association  of Students, the prime organizers of Ukrainian students, call not to limit the  rights of students, engage them in general discussions, and make amendments to the Draft Law by the discussed proposals. 

Intern students must be provided with a place to live and a decent salary. Students should have a free choice to continue their educational process in order to obtain further qualifications, professional growth and become a sought-after specialist on the labor market. 

When the opinion of medical students will be taken into account and heard – they will  choose the field where the state needs them the most! 


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