New medical school network for regional and rural NSW underway

Sunday 13 May 2018

* Minister for Regional Health, Bridget McKenzie and Federal MP for Calare, Andrew Gee today met with the Vice-Chancellor of Charles Sturt University, Professor Andrew Vann and Professor Ross Wilson, Director, Rural Health, Western Sydney University about the new Joint Medical Program (JMP).

* Teaching base to be established at CSU Orange campus to extend existing Western Sydney University program.

Federal Minister for Rural Health, Senator Bridget McKenzie, and Federal MP for Calare, Mr Andrew Gee, today met with senior representatives of Charles Sturt University and Western Sydney University to discuss the new Joint Medical Program, which includes a significant node at Charles Sturt University’s campus in Orange, New South Wales.

The Federal Government’s Budget commitment to support the medical program delivers a range of benefits to local communities across the central west including Bathurst, Parkes, Forbes and other rural towns and centres.

Vice-Chancellor of Charles Sturt University, Professor Andrew Vann, said, “People living in rural and regional Australia deserve the same access to high-quality healthcare services as those living in capital cities. But as we all know, rural and regional Australia does have a doctor shortage.

“This is a win for Orange, Bathurst and our communities across regional NSW which both Charles Sturt University and Western Sydney University serve,” Professor Vann said.

“Not only will local students be able to stay in the community they live in to complete their medical training, they will also have the chance to access long-term training opportunities across the newly created Murray Darling Basin Medical Network.

“When people study in a regional area they’re more inclined to stay in a regional area, so we want to ensure local kids can become local doctors,” Professor Vann said.

Vice-Chancellor of Western Sydney University, Professor Barney Glover, said, “We look forward to working with our partners at Charles Sturt University to deliver this program, and to making a real difference to the rural medical landscape”.

Both Vice-Chancellors said the JMP will provide a range of immediate and long-term benefits to the community including:

* shorter wait times for access to medical care
* reduced travel times for key medical procedures
* reduced stress and mental health benefits for local residents
* a locally embedded higher education research community with a focus on studying and addressing specific health issues of concern to local rural residents.

The additional training node will embed medical students in a regional centre and give them specific training in the health needs of the area – thus working to produce graduates well-equipped to remain in rural areas.

Charles Sturt University and Western Sydney University have a strong commitment to serving local communities and delivering upon workforce needs specific to individual regions.


Media contact: Kate Fotheringham, 0432 628 163

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Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews.

Photo: (L to R) CSU Professor of Nursing Linda Shields, Professor Ross Wilson (Director, Rural Health, Western Sydney University), CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann, Member for Calare Mr Andrew Gee, MP, and Senator Bridget McKenzie, Minister for Regional Health.