In two years 24 wannabe doctors may be enrolling in Dubbo’s “fully-fledged” Graduate Rural School of Medicine, many of them from the western region and akin communities.
Dean of Sydney Medical School Professor Arthur Conigrave has updated Dubbo residents on the planned expansion of the University of Sydney’s School of Rural Health in Moran Drive.
He has advised of Sydney Medical School recently submitting an application to the federal government to establish a fully-fledged, four-year and graduate-entry medical school program in Dubbo.
The application follows the government’s announcement at the May Budget of a rural health package that will inject $95.4 million into the establishment of the multi-university Murray Darling Medical Schools Network.
It will involve the establishment of a network of rural medical schools from regional Victoria through Wagga Wagga, Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo.
Participating universities from NSW are the University of Sydney, University of NSW, Charles Sturt University/ Western Sydney University, and from Victoria La Trobe University /Melbourne and Monash University.
“Our vision is to expand and transform our existing presence in Dubbo into a fully-fledged Graduate Rural School of Medicine, which will deliver our four-year graduate-entry medical program end-to-end to 24 commencing students by 2021,” Professor Conigrave said in a statement.
“We will be targeting our recruitment to maximise the number of students accepting places for the Dubbo program who are drawn from the region and from other rural, regional and remote communities.
“This will include a focus on prospective Indigenous student recruitment working with schools and communities.
“When fully operational in 2024, 96--or more than 10 per cent of domestic students enrolled in our medical program – will be based permanently in Dubbo.
“The program will be delivered not only with the Dubbo Health Service and local facilities, including those in close-by regional centres such as Narromine and Gilgandra, but we envisage that students will undertake placements in regional centres such as Bourke, Walgett, Brewarrina, Coonabarabran and Cobar.”
Professor Conigrave was unable to attend a meeting in Dubbo on Friday after his flight from Sydney was cancelled.
Instead, Head of the School of Rural Health, Associate Professor Mark Arnold, met with federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton and Dubbo mayor Ben Shield to talk about the expansion.
“Strengthening our presence and capability in Dubbo will enable us to greatly enhance the contribution we make to health education and clinical and preventive care in Dubbo and the north- west region of NSW,” Associate Professor Arnold said.