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University of Sydney welcomes rural medical education funding

14 December 2018
Boosting medical education in rural, regional and remote communities
The University of Sydney has welcomed a federal government funding package to boost the number of medical students who are educated and trained in regional Australia.

The new funding allows the University of Sydney to build on the significant contribution it makes to health education, research and care delivery in rural, regional and remote NSW

The funding, earmarked in the Government’s May Budget, comprises grants to establish a network of rural medical schools from regional Victoria through Wagga in Southern NSW, and Orange and Dubbo in Central Western NSW.

The Government’s multi-university Murray Darling Medical Schools Network (MDMSN) seeks to address rural and regional doctor shortages by increasing the numbers of medical students who complete their education and training based full-time in rural, regional and remote communities.

The University of Sydney is delighted with these federal funding outcomes.
Professor Stephen Garton, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Sydney

The funding has been allocated to the University of Sydney, UNSW, Charles Sturt, Western Sydney, La Trobe, Melbourne and Monash universities to work in partnership with each other, health services and professionals to deliver medical education programs that meet their local communities’ needs.

From as early as 2021 – the 20th anniversary of the founding of the University’s School of Rural Health in Dubbo – this new funding will see 24 students enrolling each year in a distinctive version of our highly regarded four-year, graduate-entry medical program to be taught end-to-end in Dubbo. The Federal Government will also provide $7.65 million to help us build state-of-art health education facilities next to Dubbo Base Hospital.

The package also provides ongoing funds for another two years for the University of Sydney’s Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program, delivered by its School of Rural Health in Orange and Dubbo, through its Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health and its University Centre for Rural Health in Lismore.

The longstanding RHMT program provides opportunities for students in medicine and many other health disciplines from the University of Sydney and other universities to complete short and longer-term clinical placements in Orange, Dubbo, Broken Hill, Lismore and surrounding communities.

“The University of Sydney is delighted with these federal funding outcomes, which will allow us to build on the already significant contribution we make to health professional education, research and care delivery in rural, regional and remote NSW,” said Professor Stephen Garton, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sydney.

“From an enhanced base at Dubbo, our end-to-end rural medical program will be delivered in close collaboration with the Western NSW and Far West Local Health Districts, the Western NSW Primary Care Network, Aboriginal health services, the Royal Flying Doctor Service and local councils. Once operating at full capacity, 96 medical students will be based full-time in Dubbo and surrounding communities. This will provide a tremendous boost to healthcare in Dubbo and the region and also to the local economy,” he said.

“We will be pursuing targeted recruitment strategies to maximise the number of students accepting places for the Dubbo medical program who are drawn from the region and from other rural, regional and remote communities. This will include an emphasis on prospective Indigenous and low SES student recruitment, working with local schools, health services and communities.

“As a result of the funding packages announced today, we expect that the University of Sydney’s health education activities in Orange will change once Charles Sturt University establishes its proposed medical school there in collaboration with Western Sydney University and the Western NSW Local Health District. However, our staff, affiliates and health service partners in Orange can be assured that we are fully committed to working together to fulfil our shared goals in the region during this exciting next phase,” Professor Garton said.

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