A University of Canberra-led project, in collaboration with The Australian National University (ANU), will receive $17 million to build new clinical training facilities and student accommodation in rural southeast NSW.
The funding, originally awarded through the Australian Government’s Health and Hospitals Fund Regional Priority round, will support integrated and collaborative professional training opportunities for a range of health students.
The project will establish medium-scale training facilities on existing hospital sites, as well as student accommodation in the regional towns of Bega, Cooma and Moruya.
These facilities will provide clinical training opportunities for medical, nursing, midwifery and allied health students, which will support the rural and regional health workforce capacity in this area of NSW.
The project also includes funding to construct and purchase accommodation for students and visiting clinical staff.
Professor Amanda Barnard, head of the ANU Medical School’s Rural Clinical School, said ANU is excited to be collaborating with the University of Canberra in this initiative.
“The project will enhance the successful Rural Clinical School program at ANU, which has provided medical student training in southeast NSW for ten years, with a number of graduates returning to work as rural GPs and specialists.”
Dean of the University of Canberra’s Faculty of Health, Professor Diane Gibson, welcomed the announcement, saying it would further training opportunities for students by providing valuable hands-on experience in rural and regional settings.
“We are committed to serving the southern NSW region and this project allows us to build on this commitment.”
Professor Gibson added that “the project will also support regional workforce development in the longer term as university-trained students who undergo a rural clinical placement are more likely to seek work in rural and regional areas after graduating.”
Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash said she was proud to see this sort of investment in rural doctor training.
“Having health professionals train in rural areas greatly increases the likelihood of them practicing in rural areas once they’re qualified,” Minister Nash said.
“As a rural NSW resident myself, I’m extremely pleased with this investment in southeast NSW.”
The building stage will commence in 2016.