Liberals support rural medical school

MDMS_CSU_LTU_logos_tightVice-Chancellors Professor John Dewar and Professor Andrew Vann welcomed an endorsement of the bid by Liberal Candidate for Bendigo, Greg Bickley.  

Mr Bickley said that working to get more and better trained medical experts into rural and regional areas was a fundamental part of the Coalition’s health policy which was announced last month. 

‘Providing more education and training opportunities outside of our capital cities is a positive step towards securing future doctors and medical experts in regional and rural areas,’ he said. 

‘We are lucky to have the new Bendigo Hospital underway, but better and more accessible health services are always a priority. If elected on September 7, I’ll be a strong advocate for health and education opportunities across the electorate.’ 

Charles Sturt University and La Trobe University are the two largest providers of regional tertiary education in NSW and Victoria respectively.

In May they announced plans to seek support for the creation of a multi-campus medical school based in Bendigo, Orange and Wagga Wagga to address rural doctor shortages across the central and southern Murray-Darling Basin.

Professor Dewar said he was delighted that Mr Bickley was now formally supporting the proposal.

‘Our proposal is about providing a different type of medical school for regional Australia - taking students who already have proven connections to regional areas and training them in the skills required to be a doctor who will live and work in those regional communities,’ Professor Dewar said.

‘I want to thank Mr Bickley for his support for this innovative approach and praise him for taking action to address the issues that are important to Australians living in regional and rural Victoria and New South Wales.’ 

Professor Vann said the Murray-Darling Medical School was an innovative partnership that would provide a genuinely regional solution to a regional problem.

‘This is a great opportunity for rural and regional communities to join together to deliver a local solution to a local challenge and it is great to see Mr Bickley endorse our approach,’ said Professor Vann.

‘Access to health services, and rural medical workforce shortages, are among the top issues faced by rural and regional communities and this bid will take direction action to deliver solutions to these problems,’ he said.

The rural and regional foundations of both La Trobe and Charles Sturt universities ensure the focus of the medical school would be on supporting regional communities to ‘grow their own’.

The bid would emulate the success of James Cook University, which focuses on training doctors for northern Australia and apply that in inland Australia.  

The proposal is also being backed by the Federal National Party. Their policy platform ‘Our Plan for Regional Australia’ supports the establishment of the MDMS.

More information on the MDMS is available here.

Media contact

Tim Mitchell: M 0437 457 780 | E t.mitchell@latrobe.edu.au