Calare MP Andrew Gee and Minister for Regional Health Bridget McKenzie meet with university professors on Monday morning, less then a week after the announcement of the federal government’s budget commitment to providing the Murray-Darling region with a stand-alone medical school.
Meeting with Charles Sturt University vice chancellor Professor Andrew Vann and Western Sydney University rural health director Professor Ross Wilson at the Bathurst campus, Mr Gee said the new medical school is exciting news for the region.
“One of the wonderful things about this project is students from this area and country NSW can, for the first time, be able to choose any faculty they want – law, engineering, paramedics, nursing and now medicine,” he said.
“They can study and learn their profession right here in the Central West.
“This is tremendous when you consider the growth of Charles Sturt University in the past 10 years. It’s just a world of difference.
“The real beneficiary is the country students and the country patients.”
Professor Vann the new medical school will provide an opportunity for country students to remain in rural areas.
“Not only will local students be able to stay in the community they live in to complete their medical training, they will also have the chance to access long term training opportunities across the newly created Murray Darling Basin Medical Network,” he said.
“When people study in a regional area they’re more inclined to stay in a regional area so we want to ensure local kids can become local doctors.
Charles Sturt University will collaborate with western Sydney University to produce the program for the new medical school.
There will be a range of immediate and long-term benefits to the community because of the new medical school.
These benefits include shorter waiting times for access to medical care, reduced travel times for key medical procedures, reduced stress and mental health benefits for local residents and a locally embedded higher education research community with a focus on studying and addressing certain health issues.
The additional training node will embed medical students in a regional centre and give them specific training in the health needs of the area.
This will work to produce graduates well equipped to remain in rural areas.
Charles Sturt University and Western Sydney University both have a strong commitment to serving local communities and delivering upon workforce needs that are specific to individual regions.