Wagga residents back CSU medical school proposal
28 MARCH 2013
CSU's announcement it would build a campus of its proposed medical school in Wagga Wagga has prompted an enthusiastic response from residents.
Charles Sturt University's (CSU) announcement it would build a campus of its proposed medical school in Wagga Wagga has prompted an enthusiastic response from residents.
Less than a month ago the number of people who had registered their support on Facebook for the proposed school, which would include campuses in Orange and Wagga Wagga, topped 30,000.
But it was the announcement of the proposed Wagga Wagga campus that sparked another wave of interest and resulted in another 10,000 Facebook users registering their support in just three weeks.
CSU Director of Corporate Affairs and medical school strategy coordinator, Mr Mark Burdack, said support had come from all around rural and regional Australia but a rush of interest following the announcement now meant the proposal had more registered supporters in Wagga Wagga than any other regional centre.
"The number of supporters really started to speed up since the announcement that Charles Sturt University would expand its proposal to cover more regions,” he said.
"Stories have flooded in about doctor shortages with people waiting unreasonable amounts of time to see a GP, or having to travel long distances.
“The Doctors4thebush website and Facebook page were not just established to inform our communities, but to give rural and regional people an opportunity to talk about their experiences.
“City people sometimes forget the human dimension of the rural doctor shortage when they are making decisions about our futures.
"I think that's why people are flocking to support a solution led by a regional university.
“Charles Sturt University staff live in rural Australia, so we know the problems of accessing medical services and have proven we know what works on the ground to fix health workforce shortages."
Mr Burdack said the University’s proposal had also been strongly supported by Member for Riverina Mr Michael McCormack, who had joined ViceChancellor Professor Andrew Vann at the announcement in Wagga Wagga last month, and by Nationals deputy senate leader Ms Fiona Nash.
“Rural and regional Australians are telling their local members they deserve access to medical services staffed by properly trained doctors who want to work in these communities,” he said.
“And it is very encouraging to see those local members are listening.
“Charles Sturt University has shown it can recruit rural students and produce highly-trained professionals who want to work in rural health.
“Rural communities are now watching to see what the Federal Government’s response will be.”