I wish to correct the suggestion in an article by Warrick Wheeler that the University of New South Wales (UNSW) wishes to open a medical school at Orange (Dubbo best positioned to train rural doctors, Tuesday, January 22).
UNSW has the largest rural clinical school in Australia. We train medical students in rural areas for four of the six years of the medicine program and more than two thirds of them become rural doctors in the long term. In addition, UNSW has 22 per cent of all the Indigenous medical students in Australia.
A number of our current students come from Dubbo and we encourage their plans to return as well-trained doctors to care for their community.
Subject to government agreement, UNSW plans to expand its current programs in 2015 to commence additional rural medical students in first-year medicine in our rural campuses.
These students will complete all their medical training in the country. This is an exciting development for the future of both rural education and rural health.
The proposed UNSW Rural Medical School will be based at our existing campuses - in Port Macquarie, Wagga Wagga, Albury - Wodonga and Coffs Harbour.
Contrary to the claim made in the article, UNSW has no plans to begin training medical students in Orange.
UNSW wholeheartedly agrees with the sentiments expressed by Mr Wheeler relating to rural Australia deserving better healthcare, however, we plan to address this need in the rural areas where UNSW is “up and running” and has long-established links to the communities and the clinicians.
I would also like to point out that John Dwyer is in no way associated with, and does not represent, the views of the UNSW Rural Clinical School or the UNSW
Faculty of Medicine.
Dr Lesley Forster
Associate Dean (Rural Health) and Head, Rural Clinical School
The University of NSW