CQUni medical school to boost regions 'robbed' from doctors
A SHORTAGE of regional doctors in Queensland is strengthening CQUniversity's push for a medical school after restricted visa terms are set to cut 80 doctors a year from regional areas.
Dean of the School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences at CQUniversity, Professor Fiona Coulson said the medical school would alleviate the continued struggle to find doctors for regional areas.
"The vision is that the medical school would not only increase the number of medical graduates trained in regional locations but also assist with attracting senior clinicians to the region thereby enhancing services available in the Central Queensland and Wide Bay,” Prof Coulson said.
Under the visa changes, which took effect last month, the federal government slashed the number of occupations that can be filled by short-term foreign workers and toughened the eligibility requirements.
Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles said the paper revealed the federal visa changes were "robbing regions of doctors”.
Prof Coulson said education within Wide Bay and Central Queensland was vital to increase the likelihood of graduates working in local hospitals and medical centres.
"We recognise the need to also provide training pathways for new doctors where there is a workforce need in key specialisms such as ophthalmology,” she said.
"We anticipate that strengthening the senior medical workforce in these two regions will also lead to capacity to deliver these pathways.”
The early estimates would involve between 20 to 30 medical students at the Rockhampton centre and also the Bundaberg school in partnership with Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service and Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service.
The medical school would offer a four-year postgraduate medical degree on top of a completed three-year undergraduate course, such as biology or nursing.
"The intention is to develop a curriculum that not only meets the requirements of the Australian Medical Council but meets the particular needs of regional, rural and remote medicine,” she said.
"The students would trained locally, working closely with the Hospital and Health Services from the outset of their studies.”