The funding is part of the government’s broader rural health package that will invest $95.4 million to establish a Murray Darling Medical Schools Network.
The new multi-University Murray Darling Medical Schools Network includes several new initiatives to improve rural and regional education.
This includes the establishment of a network of rural medical schools from regional Victoria through Wagga, Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo in Central Western New South Wales.
Participating universities from New South Wales are the University of Sydney, University of NSW, CSU/WSU, and from Victoria, La Trobe/Melbourne, and Monash University.
We hope that the new beginning-to-end program will enable more rural students to study medicine by removing the need to move to a metropolitan city for their degree.
Commencing in 2021, the School of Rural Health will enrol 24 students each year into its graduate-entry medical program. In addition, students from its Sydney campus will continue to do one-year placements in Dubbo and Orange.
The University of Sydney has had a long-standing presence in Central and Far Western NSW. Approximately 800 University of Sydney medical students have graduated as doctors after doing extended rural placements in Dubbo and Orange.
Head of the School of Rural Health, Associate Professor Mark Arnold said, “We are delighted with the announcement of the Federal Government’s support to expand the School of Rural Health so that we can offer the full four-year medical program.
“Increasing the number of students here is a major investment in Dubbo and recognises the quality of training in Dubbo and Orange. Currently 34 per cent of first-year medical students at the University of Sydney are from a rural background.
“We hope that the new beginning-to-end program will enable more rural students to study medicine by removing the need to move to a metropolitan city for their degree.
“We anticipate no changes to our staffing or activities in Orange as a result of these announcements, or in our capacity to offer students extended rural placements. We also remain committed to serving the Orange community through partnering to provide outstanding health and medical education and research,” said Dr Arnold.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the Commonwealth, the NSW Ministry of Health, the Western NSW Local Health District and other universities to strengthen health education and healthcare across Central and Far Western NSW.
“In coming months, we will be working with the Department of Health and the Department of Education and Training to agree on the final resourcing required to build the necessary facilities and to support the operation of the medical program.”