Rural Clinical Schools Program – Funding for the University of Wollongong

The University of Wollongong will establish a new Rural Clinical School to allow 60 medical students each year to spend part of their training in regional areas of New South Wales.

Page last updated: 08 May 2007

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Why is this important?

  • There are challenges in recruiting health professionals to rural areas.
  • The Rural Clinical Schools Program encourages medical students to pursue careers in rural practice, after graduating, by allowing them to undertake part of their training in rural locations.
  • Preliminary evidence collected by rural clinical schools since 2001 suggests that the completion of rural training is a significant factor in graduates’ decisions to practise in rural areas.

Who will benefit?

  • The new Rural Clinical School to be operated by the University of Wollongong will allow 60 more medical students each year to undertake long-term rural clinical placements in regional areas of New South Wales.
  • Up to 30 rural communities in NSW will benefit from the influx of medical students, doctors in teaching positions, and major investment in infrastructure. The program funds new educational facilities, general practice upgrades and student accommodation. This will improve local employment, economic development and health service delivery.
  • The University of Wollongong will also benefit from the investment in training infrastructure and capacity development. This will be a key aspect in the implementation of its new medical school.
  • In the medium to longer term, rural communities will benefit from more doctors.

What funding is the Government committing to the initiative?

  • The Government has committed $16.3 million over four years from 2007-08.

What have we done in the past?

  • The Rural Clinical Schools Program was established in 2000. There are now 14 Rural Clinical Schools, managed by 12 universities, across Australia. In 2006, about 380 medical students completed 12-month rural placements.

When will the initiative conclude?

  • This initiative is ongoing.

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