Supporters of the Murray Darling Medical School (MDMS) are continuing to push for its establishment to help solve the rural doctor crisis.
Charles Sturt University (CSU) and La Trobe University in Victoria are partners in the plan to create the MDMS.
Peter Fraser, CSU’s director of government and community relations, said the university continues to make a case in Canberra for the MDMS.
The proposal is to enable medical studies at three campuses including one in the Central West.
“And we are continuing to have on-going discussion with the government and key stakeholders on progressing the issue to ensure our communities have the opportunity to study in the bush and allow local kids to become local doctors,” Mr Fraser said.
“We are pleased that the Federal Government continues to listen to the university in making its case for the need for a medical school in the region,” he said.
In Parliament last month, the Federal Member for Calare, Mr Andrew Gee, spoke about the desperate need for the MDMS, which he says would address the doctor shortage in rural and regional areas.
“There is a chronic shortage of doctors in the bush, and people of country Australia are tired of it,” Mr Gee said.
He said it is crucial people from rural and regional areas have the opportunity to study medicine closer to home as they are more likely to want to work in the bush when their training is complete.
“CSU has a plan to do something about this by starting a country medical school that will train doctors in the bush for practice in the bush.”
CSU plans to set aside 80 per cent of its places for rural students. An independent economic impact assessment also found the medical school would help solve doctor shortages in regional NSW and Victoria by providing around 90 doctors each year once fully operational.
Mr Fraser said Mr Gee has been an active advocate.
“He’s played a crucial role in Canberra by being our voice and making a case to Ministers and policy decision makers on the need for the establishment of a medical school in the Central West to ensure our communities have access to the same level of health care as their city cousins.
“And that the needs of the community should be addressed through the establishment of a medical school, that will enable the issue of doctor shortages to be addressed in the bush.”
Mr Fraser said CSU has been delighted by the support it has received from across the community, including local councils, Regional Development Australia branches and key stakeholders.