Photo caption: Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton (centre) and Regional Health Minister Dr David Gillespie (right) visited the University of Sydney’s Dubbo School of Rural Health. They are pictured with Head of the Rural Clinical School Professor Mark Arnold, Client Advisory Manager Tracey Baldwin and School Manager Kim O’Connor.
More than $57 million from the Federal Government to the University of Sydney (USyd) is giving trainee doctors and health professionals the opportunity to live, work and study in Dubbo and the central west region of NSW and in turn increasing access to healthcare for local patients.
Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton and Federal Regional Health Minister, Dr David Gillespie yesterday visited the Dubbo Rural Clinical School, operated by the University of Sydney (USyd), to hear firsthand about the high-quality education and training opportunities being offered at the school.
Mr Coulton said Federal Government funding provided to USyd provided employment for local staff, in addition to training the next generation of regional and rural doctors and health professionals.
“The clinical school in Dubbo employs 27 local staff, who supported 33 trainees to complete 12-month medical placements last year,” Mr Coulton said.
“Local opportunities like this are so important. Research shows that those who train in the bush are more likely to stay on in the regions or consider practising rurally at the end of their training, which is why this Government is investing heavily in rural education opportunities.”
Minister Gillespie, who practised as a regional doctor for much of his 30-year-career, said The Liberal and Nationals Government is providing more than $57.5 million to the University of Sydney to enable regional training as part of the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program.
“The Nationals thoroughly understand the benefits of regional training for medical students and the training offered here as part of the RHMT is far superior and more hands on than that offered anywhere in the cities,” Dr Gillespie said.
Mr Coulton said in addition to the Rural Clinical School, the University of Sydney operates the Western NSW Regional Training Hub in Dubbo.
This facility helps to build training capacity in the region by supporting local medical practitioners to become supervisors and assisting health services to gain accreditation for new training posts, as well as offering more support for rural medical students and trainees.
“USyd has partnered with the local hospitals and health services through this hub to improve the coordination, continuity and capacity of rural clinical training,” Mr Coulton said.
“This support helps medical students to complete most of their studies and training in rural and remote areas and generates a sustainable medical workforce which meets the health needs of people living and working in the region.”
Dr Gillespie said USyd also received $9.27 million for capital works to establish a new rural graduate-entry medical program based in Dubbo through the Murray-Darling Medical Schools Network (MDMSN).
Mr Coulton said the Dubbo medical school will welcome its first students in 2022, with 24 Commonwealth Supported Places each year.
“Pleasingly, more than 500 students applied for the first intake of the program, which indicates a high demand for regional training,” Mr Coulton said.
Twenty-one universities are currently participating in the RHMT program across Australia. Seven universities in NSW and Victoria have participated in the establishment of the MDMSN.
Dr Gillespie said by investing in the MDMSN and the RHMT program, the Federal Government is highlighting the professional and personal benefits of practising in regional, rural and remote communities.