More rural and regional Australians to train as doctors

The University of Melbourne has welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to allocate up to 40 medical training positions for rural and regional Victorians, allowing for an innovative partnership with La Trobe University.

The University will establish the Doctor of Medicine (Rural) with places based predominately in Shepparton.

Half of these places will be made available for La Trobe University students enrolling in the Bachelor of Bioscience (Medical) in Bendigo and Albury/Wodonga who meet the rigorous entry criteria.

University of Melbourne Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences Dean Shitij Kapur said this announcement is a win for rural and regional students and families.

“This new model will offer country students a fully articulated end-to-end rural training program, without having to leave rural Victoria,” Professor Kapur said.

“This will improve health service provision and outcomes for people living in rural and regional Victoria.

“We also anticipate a Federal Government contribution to the capital costs of implementing the announcement including the building of additional student accommodation in Shepparton.”

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis said this announcement expands on the already significant presence of the University in delivering high quality medical education in rural Victoria.

“The University has run a Rural Clinical School program at Shepparton for many years, which not only works to achieve specialist placements in areas such as psychiatry and internal medicine, but also supports mentoring programs to assist students in their decisions about rural careers,” Professor Davis said.

“While we welcome this Federal Government announcement, we believe further improvements could be made to develop viable postgraduate specialist training programs in the regions so doctors can remain in those areas while pursuing the next level of their career rather than returning to metropolitan health services.

“Addressing this complex issue requires a coordinated approach between the rural and metropolitan health services, state and federal government and the colleges. We are proud to be playing our part.”