Southern Cross University has welcomed the Federal Government's confirmation that the Northern Rivers will host one of the new rural medical training facilities to be funded under the national $117.6 million 'More Doctors - Better Services' package.
Commenting on the proposed network unveiled by the Minister for Health today, SCU's Executive Director of Administration, Malcolm Marshall, said "The Government correctly identified a serious imbalance between rural and city health funding and has formulated what should be an effective way of helping redress it.
"The early details indicate that the joint submission by Southern Cross and the Northern Rivers Area Health Service was well received and that the establishment of a new University Department of Rural Health (UDRH) in Lismore will deliver $3.0 million a year for the next four years," Mr. Marshall said.
He added "The additional employment, infrastructure and health care services will provide a range of benefits for the region, and help ensure that more doctors train and work in this fast growing area."
Mr. Marshall said the region had fourteen public hospitals, the major ones being at Lismore, Tweed Heads and Grafton, with 120 trainee doctors undertaking six-week clinical placements annually: "Under the proposed plan, the duration of the placements will extend to one year, or perhaps even two years, and create an educational regime that benefits the whole community as well as the young doctors themselves.
"It should also result in more country students pursuing careers as rural health professionals. The Health Minister's goal is for a minimum of 25 per cent of medical students to receive at least half of their clinical training in rural areas, and we strongly support that," he said.