Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison’s announcement of funding a new Murray Darling Medical Schools (MDMS) network in the 2018 budget has been welcomed by Charles Sturt University.
The original MDMS proposal was to enable medical studies at three campuses including one in the Central West. While the network is not the same as the original proposal it will see a number of universities in New South Wales and Victoria share in $95.4 million to establish the network, which aims to train and retain more doctors in regional areas.
The network will comprise of the University of NSW in Wagga Wagga, the University of Sydney in Dubbo, CSU/Western Sydney University in Orange, Monash University in Bendigo and Melbourne University/La Trobe in Bendigo, Wodonga and Shepparton.
But there'll be no new Commonwealth supported places for medical students.
CSU’s director of government and community relations Peter Fraser said CSU is delighted with the announcement of the establishment of the Murray Darling medical network.
“This is a transformational announcement by the Australian government and it will see the establishment of a joint medical program between CSU and western Sydney University.
“We’re particularly delighted given that CSU has spent may years advocating for the need for a specific program that addresses the chronic shortage of doctors in rural and regional Australia and the maldistribution of training places.”
Mr Fraser said the announcement provides a solution to the need to address the shortage of doctors in rural and regional Australia.
“It will provide an end to end solution for medical training and it will encourage more doctors to train, study and stay in rural and regional Australia, which is so desperately needed to ensure that our communities have the same access to health care as their city cousins,” he said.
In regards to the other rural and regional budget health announcements, including funding for Lifeline and the Royal Flying Doctor, Mr Fraser said it has been a win for rural and regional Australia.
“It is very clear that the deputy Prime Minister signaled some time ago that the medical needs of rural and regional Australians were going to be given a priority and with the recent budget its evidence that that has been turned into action.”