University of Sydney School of Rural Health outlines expansion plans for Dubbo campus

EXPANSION: School of Rural Health manager Kim O’Connor said the institution is in the “early stages” of working towards the expansion of its graduate medical program.

EXPANSION: School of Rural Health manager Kim O’Connor said the institution is in the “early stages” of working towards the expansion of its graduate medical program.

The Dubbo campus of a university training the doctors of the future has a “larger lecture theatre” on its radar as it gears up for more students in coming years.

A purpose-built facility for more biology and anatomy is also in the mix as the University of Sydney School of Rural Health aims to welcome first and second-year students to its Moran Drive base for the first time in 2021.

School manager Kim O’Connor has reported the institution is in the “early stages” of working towards the expansion of its graduate medical program.

The expansion is part of the $95.4 million, 10-year Stronger Rural Health Strategy announced in this year’s federal budget.

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Until now students have been able to complete either the third or fourth year of their medical degree at Dubbo, but with the expansion the school will be able to offer the entire four-year post-graduate degree.

The strategy does not increase the number of Commonwealth-Supported Places [CSPs] but instead will redistribute those CSPs in line with the results of a recent review, and in consultation with the sector.

Mrs O’Connor said the school “at the moment” had been advised it could have a certain number of students per year, although CSPs were still being negotiated.

“So our expansion will be with another purpose-built building for stage one and two, which is a bit more biology and anatomy,” she said.

“And we also need a larger lecture theatre because we’re going to have more students.

“But very early stages, we are still in the negotiation stage with the federal government over exactly what this will look like, and still negotiating CSPs.”

Before then, the school will embark on its own addition.

“We’re about to start work on a simulation training centre, which is at the end of our teaching building here, which the university is funding,” Mrs O’Connor said.

“So that’s about a million-dollar project.”

The atmosphere since the budget had been “fantastic”.

“2021 is when we’re aiming to have the first cohort of year ones come through, so we’ve got a bit of work to do before then, but we’re very excited,” Mrs O’Connor said.