Rural medical school still not approved

Professor Andrew Vann, Vice-Chancellor of Charles Sturt University (CSU), and Professor John Dewar, Vice-Chancellor of La Trobe University, expressed their disappointment tonight after the Murray Darling Medical School was once again overlooked in the Federal Budget.

"More than 4,500 rural people die every year in part because of poor access to doctors in rural and regional Australia, and preventable hospitalisations are up to 20 per cent higher in rural areas compared to cities," said Professor Vann.

"All the evidence says a rural medical school will make a big difference to the chronic undersupply of doctors in rural Australia, and address the unacceptable mortality and morbidity rates in our communities," he said.

Professor Dewar said, "La Trobe University and Charles Sturt University are committed to working with our communities until we get a genuine local solution to rural doctor shortages.

"The Murray Darling Medical School is not just an investment in the well-being of our regions, but it is an investment in regional jobs and economic growth," said Professor Dewar.

"We will continue to work with our local members and the Federal Government to secure this critical piece of health infrastructure for our communities."

CSU and La Trobe jointly submitted a proposal to the federal government three years ago to establish the Murray Darling Medical School in Orange, Bendigo and Wagga Wagga in order to address rural doctor shortages and give rural students a fair chance to study medicine.

Media note: Professors Vann and Dewar are available for interview on request. Please contact CSU and La Trobe Media for more information.

Media contact:

Tim Mitchell - 0437 457 780