CSU welcomes support for medical school

5 JUNE 2013

CSU Director of Corporate Affairs Mr Mark Burdack has welcomed support from Senator Fiona Nash and Riverina MP Michael McCormack for a Murray Darling Medical School.

Charles Sturt University (CSU) Director of Corporate Affairs Mr Mark Burdack has welcomed support from Senator Fiona Nash and Riverina MP Michael McCormack for a Murray Darling Medical School.
CSU and La Trobe University have announced a partnership to establish the school, based at their Orange, Wagga Wagga and Bendigo campuses, to address rural health workforce shortages.
Mr Burdack said Senator Nash and Mr McCormack understood the issues rural and regional communities were facing, particularly the challenge of getting GPs into rural and remote practices which was underlined by a recent COAG Reform Council report on rural health services.
“The report found that rural and regional people continue to have much higher rates of potentially preventable hospitalizations, and that there was a significant increase in people reporting longer than acceptable times to see a general practitioner and medical specialist in rural and regional areas,” he said.
"In our view we need a new approach to medical education.
“This is not just about improving health services, but making sure we are spending taxpayers’ money wisely. Just last week, the federal government announced it would have to spend $179 million to improve access to health services in remote communities.
"Last year, the NSW government spent more than $100 million on locum services just to keep essential hospital services going in some rural centres. We would not have to spend this type of money if policies to get more Australian trained doctors into rural practice were working.”
Mr Burdack said the Murray Darling Medical School proposal was designed to “substantially increase the number of Australian medical graduates moving into rural practice” just as CSU and La Trobe had done for pharmacy, physiotherapy, paramedics, nursing and other health professions.
"Our proposal is cheaper than any other options and will give significantly more rural students the chance to study medicine locally. It will deliver real growth in the number of doctors in rural and regional areas, particularly smaller rural and remote communities,” he said.
Senator Nash said the proposal was cost-effective and based on national and international evidence that supported rural training.
“In my view, it deserves the government’s strong consideration,” she said.
"Thirty per cent of people live in rural and remote Australia but we still struggle to attract and keep doctors and other health professionals in our regions. I am confident the CSU and La Trobe partnership will help change this.” 
Mr McCormack said the best means of securing rural doctors was to have a rural medical school training rural students.
“A rural medical school in the Riverina region will help… address the shortage suffered by many communities in my electorate,” he said.
“I look forward to working alongside the universities and Senator Nash to make this vision of a rural medical school for the Riverina a reality.”

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