Date published: 
25 September 2019
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

A new state of the art medical training centre that opened today in Toowoomba will provide a facility for the next generation of nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists and midwives to hone their skills.

Officially opening the University of Queensland’s training centre at the Baillie Henderson Hospital, Minister for Regional Services and Decentralisation, Mark Coulton said the new facility would enable medical students to train closer to home, and enable students from capitals cities to experience rural placements.

“The Federal Government is committed to improving the range of health care available to regional patients, and research shows that students who undertake training in the country are more likely to continue to work in or return to the regions at the completion of their studies,” Minister Coulton said.

Minister Coulton said the new centre would support rural clinical placements for students across a range of disciplines, including nursing and midwifery, physiotherapy, pharmacy, psychology, social work, occupational therapy, speech pathology, dietetics and exercise physiology.

“The increase of rural medical students will boost the number of qualified health professionals working in the Toowoomba region, build the region’s capacity to train students and support a better distributed health workforce,” Minister Coulton said.

Member for Groom John McVeigh said the new centre included training rooms, staff offices, tutorial and meetings rooms and telehealth studios.

“The facility is a positive investment for the future health workforce of the Toowoomba and wider Darling Downs area,” he said.

“A project such as this will bring economic and social benefits for the community as well as improving the viability and stability of local health services.”

Minister Coulton said increasing opportunities for training in rural areas is a key part of the Liberal and Nationals Government’s $550 million Stronger Rural Health Strategy that will inject 3,000 more doctors and 3,000 additional nurses into rural areas.

“With more placements across a range of disciplines, the region will see more students in clinics learning and putting into practice the skills they have learned in their studies,” he said.

The new centre received $1.3 million of Federal Government funding, and is a collaboration between the University of Queensland’s Southern Queensland Rural Health (SQRH) and the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service. SQRH is the University of Queensland’s department of rural health that was established by the Federal Government to increase training opportunities for nursing and allied health students in rural communities.