Funding boost means more students access increased training opportunities in Whyalla

Health and medical students in Whyalla and a number of other locations throughout rural and regional areas of South Australia will receive greater opportunities to undertake their training, as a part of an Australian Government initiative.

Page last updated: 20 September 2016

PDF printable version of Funding boost means more students access increased training opportunities in Whyalla (PDF 251 KB)

20 September 2016

Health and medical students in Whyalla and a number of other locations throughout rural and regional areas of South Australia will receive greater opportunities to undertake their training, as a part of an Coalition Government initiative.

Assistant Minister for Rural Health, Dr David Gillespie, today visited the University of South Australia’s Department of Rural Health (DRH) in Whyalla with the local Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey to see first-hand the programs on offer for students.

The Whyalla Campus currently has upwards of 55 nursing students enrolled across all years, and over 60 students enrolled in the social work program.

The University of South Australia DRH, established in 1997, is one of twelve University Departments of Rural Health receiving funding through the Government’s Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program.

“It’s vital for all Australians regardless of whether they live in the bush or a metropolitan setting to have access to first rate health services,” Dr Gillespie said.

“Our Government is committed to ensuring that we have an adequate number of health professionals in all of our rural and regional communities.

“Part of this is ensuring that our health students receive the best opportunities to train outside the major cities. The evidence is there – students who train in rural areas are more likely to stay and work there.”

At Whyalla, over 70 UniSA students have completed placements in disciplines such as nursing, social work, occupational therapy and podiatry between January and August this year, while upwards of 10 additional students from Flinders and Adelaide Universities, supported by the UniSA’s DRH, also completed placements in Whyalla.

Since 2011, the University of South Australia DRH has provided support to a total of 2,400 students and delivered 12,935 rural clinical placement weeks.

“It’s fantastic to see that health students are completing their clinical placements in rural areas. It’s even more heartening to see that over 28 per cent of medical students enrolled at RHMT Universities are from a rural background themselves,” Dr Gillespie said.

As part of the Coalition Government’s ongoing commitment to rural multidisciplinary training, $487.2 million is being provided from 2016 until December 2018 to support training opportunities for medical, nursing and, midwifery, dental and allied health students through the RHMT program.

Dr Gillespie said the University of South Australia, which operates the Whyalla campus, will receive $13.1 million of this funding.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate Rowan Ramsey on his ongoing support and advocacy of the RHMT and the additional funding which has been secured for the various medical and health training facilities here in regional SA," Dr Gillespie said.

A further three University Departments of Rural Health will be established across Australia to open up new opportunities for nursing and allied health students to train in rural areas.

The Department of Health will run a competitive process in late 2016 to decide the fund holders for the new sites, with activity expected to begin in the 2017 academic year.

Media contact: Rob Nardella, 0433 141 433

Top of Page