Boost for training of medical and health students

8 June 2012

Tanya Plibersek and Jillian Skinner (second and third from left respectively) attended the ceremony.
Tanya Plibersek and Jillian Skinner (second and third from left respectively) attended the ceremony.

The first sod has been turned on the site of The Sydney Adventist Hospital's Education Centre - a $17m facility which boosts the clinical training options for the University of Sydney's health and medical students.

The centre, part of a major initiative to address shortages in the national health workforce, will house the University of Sydney's newest clinical school at Sydney Adventist Hospital. The Sydney Adventist Hospital Clinical School was established in 2011 to expand clinical training opportunities for medical students, and by 2016 will graduate up to 40 doctors per year. It is the first fully-fledged clinical school based in a private hospital in NSW.

The ceremony was attended by the Federal Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek, NSW Premier and local member for Ku-ring-gai, Barry O'Farrell; State Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner; CEO of Health WorkForce Australia, Mark Cormack as well as Dr Michael Spence, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney, and Professor Bruce Robinson, Dean of the Sydney Medical School.

The hospital has a long-established commitment to training, with the Avondale College Faculty of Nursing and Health - over 100 years old - situated on the hospital grounds. These nursing students will also make use of the Education Centre on its completion.

$11.83m of the cost of the centre was awarded by Health Workforce Australia (HWA) and is the largest capital funding grant made by the Commonwealth through HWA to the private sector. The funding addresses concerns that clinical placement opportunities have failed to match the steep increase in university medical student places - an increase of over 60 percent in 2005-10.

The NSW State Government has committed a further $10 million from 2012-13 to fund the education centre, train medical interns and contract health services.

Dr Leon Clark, CEO of the Sydney Adventist Hospital Group, said: "The purpose-built education centre will house lecture and tutorial rooms, a library, operating theatre simulator, student common room and auditoriums. The centre will offer a unique training model by providing side-by-side clinical placements for medical, nursing, physiotherapy, pharmacy, radiography, occupational medicine, midwifery and other allied health students."

Professor Bruce Robinson emphasised the significance of the collaboration: "The Clinical School recognises the fact that a growing number of Australians are cared for in private hospitals and a growing number of clinicians are employed in the private sector. Private facilities have long been under-utilised for training, so we are particularly delighted with this partnership."

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