Training hubs and universities to ensure better health in the region

Health and medical students will have greater opportunities to live, study and work in rural and regional Australia following the latest round of funding through the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program.

Under the RHMT program $54.4 million has been allocated over 2016-17 to 2018-19 for 26 new Regional Training Hubs and three University Departments of Rural Health (UDRH).

Federal Assistant Minister for Health, Dr David Gillespie, today announced the Riverina and Murrumbidgee areas will receive Regional Training Hubs and Southern and Central New South Wales would be receiving a UDRH.

The Member for Riverina, Michael McCormack, said the Regional Training Hub will work with local health services to help move medical students through the pipeline, enabling students to continue rural training through university into postgraduate medical training, and then work within rural Australia.

“These announcements strengthen our surrounding region as a destination for health education and training. It’s a great place for students to learn, but also provides pathways for them to continue a career in the region,” Mr McCormack said.

“These initiatives will help the Coalition Government deliver on its commitment to provide first rate health and medical services to all Australians – regardless of where they live.”

Dr Gillespie said both of these Coalition Government initiatives support high quality rural placements for health students from across Australia, to help ensure rural communities have access to doctors, nurses, midwives and allied health professionals in the future.

“I’d particularly like to acknowledge the work and strong advocacy Michael McCormack has played in arguing the case for Regional Training Hubs and a new University Department of Rural Health for the region,” Dr Gillespie said.

Charles Sturt University was selected to establish the UDRH in Southern and Central New South Wales and the remaining two will be established in South East Queensland (University of Queensland) and Broome and the Kimberley in Western Australia (University of Notre Dame). The $26 million in funding allocated for these three new locations takes the number of UDRHs across Australia to 15.  

“Each of these UDRHs will support current health workforce priorities in their region, and expand support for clinical placement activity for nursing, midwifery, dental or allied health students,” Minister Gillespie said.

“The Riverina and Murrumbidgee regions are two of 26 to benefit from the Coalition Government’s investment in Regional Training Hubs. The University of Notre Dame will operate the Riverina Hub and the University of New South Wales is set to operate a Murrumbidgee Region Hub from Griffith which will have benefits for the wider area, forming an essential component of the Integrated Rural Training Pipeline for Medicine.

“Other components of the pipeline initiative will offer 100 ongoing rural training places by 2018 through the Specialist Training Program, and rotations for around 240 interns into rural primary care settings each year through the Rural Junior Doctor Training Innovation Fund.”

Cristy Houghton