NEXT STEP: Stakeholders Geoff McColl, Peta Jamieson, Adrian Penningham, Steven Miles, Steve Williams, Paul Bell, and Professor Fiona Coulson sign the Memorandum of Understanding for the doctors training program in Rockhampton in 2018.
NEXT STEP: Stakeholders Geoff McColl, Peta Jamieson, Adrian Penningham, Steven Miles, Steve Williams, Paul Bell, and Professor Fiona Coulson sign the Memorandum of Understanding for the doctors training program in Rockhampton in 2018.

Multi-million-dollar program brings business to Rocky

CENTRAL Queensland will become a new hub for doctors of the future with the State Government investing $5.4 million in a local training program.

The program, first called for by CQUniversity Vice Chancellor Scott Bowman in 2018, will enable medical students to complete their education without leaving the region.

CQHHS Chief Executive Steve Williamson said the program had the opportunity to solve regional staffing issues.

“Regional areas have found it difficult to recruit and retain medical staff, as young people in the past had to move away to complete their studies and settled in other areas,” Mr Williamson said. “If they can train locally and become comfortable in local hospitals there is a far greater chance they will make their careers in Central Queensland or Wide Bay.”

The funding will be split between Wide Bay and Central Queensland Hospital and Health Services across three years to develop the state’s Regional Medical Program.

Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services Steven Miles said the program would benefit aspiring doctors and the community.

“We know doctors and medical staff who have trained at regional hospitals are more likely to continue on working in the same hospitals,” Mr Miles said. “This medical program is not only great news for local aspiring doctors but will also ensure we can sustain a highly trained workforce in regional public hospitals such as Rockhampton.”

If all goes to plan, up to 30 students will be in the process of being “trained and retained” across the two regions by 2022 and 120 students by 2026.

Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said regional economies would benefit with plenty of jobs available throughout the program. “Not only is this a step toward securing our future workforce, it’s a great opportunity for local young people, or people who might choose to study medicine in the future,” he said.

The University of Queensland, CQUniversity and Queensland Chief Medical Officer Dr Jeannette Young worked to secure the funding.

“Credit is due to our tertiary partners who have backed this program from the get-go,” Mr Miles said.

The universities will set the academic program, while seeking the redistribution of Commonwealth-supported medical student placements.



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