| November 17, 2016
Multi-million dollar funding package expands health training for Shepparton
People living in Shepparton will benefit now and into the future from the Coalition Government’s investment in local training for medical and health students.
Federal Assistant Minister for Rural Health, The Hon Dr David Gillespie MP, said that as part of the Coalition Government's announcement to invest $101 million to universities to deliver training in regional Victoria from 2016 to 2018, $37.6 million has been allocated to the University of Melbourne. The university’s Department of Rural Health is based in Shepparton, with campuses at Ballarat and Wangaratta.
Touring the Shepparton campus today with Mr Damian Drum, Federal Member for Murray, Dr Gillespie paid tribute to the university and Mr Drum on securing the funding.
"This significant investment in the University of Melbourne's programmes and facilities here in Shepparton is testament to the wonderful job they are doing in the rural and regional health training space,” Dr Gillespie said.
“I’d also like to acknowledge local Member Damian Drum who has been one of The Nationals strongest advocates in arguing for more funds to support the Government's programme to provide more training opportunities to attract more doctors and health professionals to the bush.”
The funding is provided under the Coalition Government’s Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program.
Mr Drum said the funding injection into the University of Melbourne would deliver more training opportunities for medical and health students in Shepparton and enhance local health services.
“This significant investment by our Government in the Shepparton campus means better access to doctors, nurses and other health professionals for people in this region,” Mr Drum said.
“Not only can trainees provide services, but we know that professionals who spend time in regional and rural communities are more likely to choose rural practice after they are qualified.
“Health and medical students from regional and rural Victoria also have greater opportunities to train closer to home thanks to the Coalition Government’s partnership with the university.”
Last year, 26 per cent of the University of Melbourne’s graduating medical students spent one year or more at the rural clinical school.
Forty-four medical students are currently completing a six or 12 month rural clinical placement in Shepparton.
In addition, last year the Department of Rural Health in Shepparton supported 229 Australian students to undertake rural clinical placements of two weeks or more, equating to 1,188 placement weeks. Of these, 90 per cent were allied health students and 10 per cent were nursing students.
“People who live in the country generally face greater challenges in their health care than those who live in city areas,” Dr Gillespie said.
“The Coalition Government is actively working to change this by investing in a health workforce which will meet the needs of all Australians.”
Dr Gillespie said the co-location of medical, nursing and allied health students at the Department of Rural Health in Shepparton provides added benefits by promoting interdisciplinary training and closer collaboration between students.
Students in the Shepparton Rural Clinical School receive on the job training in the local hospital, covering surgical, medical, paediatric, obstetrics and gynaecology, intensive care, emergency, rehabilitation and mental health services.
Nationally, the Coalition Government has committed $487.2 million over three calendar years to18 universities participating in the RHMT program.