Rural medical commitment welcomed

La Trobe University has welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to fund an increase in the number of medical students studying at rural Universities, announced in last night’s Budget.

La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO said the new investment, which will deliver 80 additional medical places for aspiring doctors to undertake their studies at rural campuses, will make a significant difference to rural communities that are struggling to attract doctors.

“We warmly welcome the Federal Government’s commitment to further addressing this decades-old challenge by expanding the reach and influence of rural medical training,” Professor Dewar said.

“We know that students who train in rural and regional areas tend to stay in those areas after graduation, meaning they give back to those communities for years to come.”

In 2018, the Federal Government funded a new end-to-end rural medical pathway program as part of the Murray-Darling Medical Schools Network in Bendigo, Albury-Wodonga and Shepparton designed to solve the critical issue of Victoria’s rural doctor shortage. The program is delivered through a unique partnership between La Trobe University and the University of Melbourne.

Fifteen students have already successfully completed La Trobe’s Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Medical) with 13 now studying a Doctor of Medicine (Rural Pathway) at the University of Melbourne’s campus in Shepparton. A further 45 La Trobe students are currently enrolled in the undergraduate degree.

“Our own rural training pathway has experienced significant and increasing demand, which we simply cannot meet without additional medical places earmarked for the regions,” Professor Dewar said.

“To meet this demand, La Trobe has been developing an exciting proposal to expand our successful existing end-to-end medical pathway program and support its introduction to our regional campus in Mildura.

"We look forward to working with the Government as it implements its commitment to addressing the critical issue of rural medical workforce shortage," Professor Dewar said.

Media Contact: Claire Bowers – | 0437279903