Deakin University has welcomed new Federal Government funding that will provide medical graduates greater opportunities to live, train and work in rural and regional areas - including Western Victoria.
Announced today by Assistant Health Minister Dr David Gillespie, $28.5 million will be invested through the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program for 26 new Regional Training Hubs, which will coordinate specialist medical training in regional Australia.
Deakin was selected to establish one of those new Regional Training Hubs in Western Victoria - an area which covers both its Warrnambool and Geelong campuses, as well as Ballarat, the site of one of the Deakin Medical School Clinical Schools.
The hub, to be headquartered at South West Healthcare in Warrnambool, will work collaboratively with health services, medical colleges and other medical and education training stakeholders to establish specialist training programs, and provide support for specialist trainees in their region.
Deakin's Executive Dean of Health Professor Brendan Crotty said he was pleased the Minister - a medical specialist himself - had recognised that provision of postgraduate training is the appropriate way to address the continuing maldistribution of medical practitioners.
"We know that if people study and train in the regions, they're much more likely to stay, live and work in the regions," Professor Crotty said.
"The Western Victoria Regional Training Hub will link Deakin's medical school with regionally-based trainees, regional health services, specialist Colleges and accrediting bodies, and state and territory governments to build training capacity in our region.
"Across Victoria, three universities - Deakin, Melbourne and Monash - have worked together to ensure the future medical workforce needs of regional communities will be met through four coordinated hubs - a deliberate strategy to ensure the hubs are large enough to sustain a full specialist training program."
Professor Crotty acknowledged the support of the Member for Wannon, The Hon Dan Tehan MP, in securing the Western Victoria Regional Training Hub and bringing Deakin's vision to life.
South West Healthcare CEO John Krygger said: "This new funding is a further extension of the strong partnership that exists between SWH and Deakin University. Through the creation of training pathways, it will enable locally based medical students to pursue their professional careers whether that be through a Specialist or General Practice training program."
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