$10.5 Million for Armidale Clinical School

An Australia-first medical student programme offered jointly by two universities – one city-based, the other in the country – is providing a unique approach to overcoming doctor shortages in rural Australia.

Page last updated: 10 October 2014

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10 October 2014

An Australia-first medical student programme offered jointly by two universities – one city-based, the other in the country – is providing a unique approach to overcoming doctor shortages in rural Australia.

As part of the joint medical programme, a new state-of-the-art clinical school at Armidale was opened by the Assistant Minister for Health, Senator Fiona Nash, today. The Australian Government has invested $10.5 million to establish the University of New England Tablelands Clinical School.

The joint medical programme is a four-way partnership between the two universities – the University of Newcastle and the University of New England – and the Hunter New England and Central Coast Local Health Districts.

Students can choose either a metropolitan or rural campus at which to study an identical curriculum and benefit from the differences each location offers.

The joint programme capitalises on the University of Newcastle’s respected medical programme, and on the University of New England’s strong rural standing.

“The Australian Government’s funding for the University of New England Tablelands Clinical School underlines our strong commitment to address the health workforce shortage in remote, rural and regional communities,” Minister Nash said.

“As well as students experiencing what it’s like to work in either a city or rural practice, country areas get an immediate boost in local health services as the students train. Potentially, they also get more permanent doctors, given that graduates often choose to stay in areas where they have done their training.

“Universities traditionally run their own medical programmes. Under this unique approach, city and country learn from each other. The big winners are the patients, who get better access to local health services – and more doctors training, living and, ultimately, working in a regional area.”

The three-storey facility includes consulting and procedure rooms, teaching and administrative spaces, clinical laboratories and study areas. It will also be made available to students studying pharmacy, nursing, social work, psychology and exercise physiology.

Media contact: Kay McNiece, 0412 132 585

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