Federal Minister for Rural Health, Senator Bridget McKenzie, and Federal Member for Calare, Andrew Gee, recently met with senior representatives of Charles Sturt University (CSU) and Western Sydney University (WSU) to discuss the new Joint Medical Program (JMP), which includes a significant node at CSU’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.
CSU Vice-Chancellor 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 New South Wales 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.”
WSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Barney Glover said, “We look forward to working with our partners at Charles Start 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 increased 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.
CSU and WSU have a strong commitment to serving local communities and addressing the needs specific to individual regions.
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