Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Murray Darling Medical School?

Charles Sturt University and La Trobe University are proposing to establish the MDMS – a rurally focused medical school with campuses in Orange, Wagga-Wagga and Bendigo – across the Murray Darling region where doctor shortages impact on health care.

The Murray Darling Medical School will address doctor shortages in regional NSW and Victoria by turning local kids into local doctors.

Evidence:

  • The MDMS will model itself on the successful and only outer regional medical school in Australia at James Cook University. The curriculum will prepare our doctors for regional practice so the community gets the health care it deserves.
  • 80% of places at the MDMS will be guaranteed to students from regional, rural and remote areas.
  • The MDMS will train students who express a preference for regional or rural practice.
  • Training students locally will ensure they maintain community ties and build skill sets suitable for regional or rural practice.
  • Rural students who undertake extended periods of training in a rural area are about four times more likely to work in rural practice.
  • The MDMS will train local people to be local doctors. It will provide around 90 doctors to the Murray Darling region each year once fully operational.
  • Increased numbers of doctors in the region will improve health outcomes for local residents.
Do we need another medical school in Australia?

There is a shortage of doctors in regional Australia and most studying medicine at metropolitan medical schools don’t want to re-locate.  The evidence shows where people study affects where they choose to live and work.  The MDMS will turn local kids into local doctors.

Evidence:

  • The proportion of medical graduates from a typical metropolitan medical school who relocate to rural practice is about 10%.
  • Rural students who undertake extended periods of training in a rural area are about four times more likely to work in rural practice.
  • At Australia’s only medical school located in an outer regional area (James Cook University) 250 people have been trained over 10 years and 200 are still practicing in the regions.
  • At Charles Sturt University and La Trobe University, up to 85% of students currently studying health sciences are employed in rural communities. These universities have runs on the board.
  • The MDMS will train local people to be local doctors. It will provide around 90 doctors to the Murray Darling region each year once fully operating.
Why Charles Sturt University and La Trobe University? Why should the school be based in Bendigo, Orange and Wagga?

There are chronic health workforce shortages across regional Victoria and New South Wales and current medical schools don’t deliver for rural workforce needs. Charles Sturt University and La Trobe University are already training and providing the health workforce for regional Victoria and New South Wales. We are the number 1 educators of paramedics, nurses, dentists and psychologists in the regions. We know that if you train kids locally, they will stay local.

Evidence:

  • The MDMS will guarantee 80% of medical places for genuinely remote, rural, regional and Indigenous students and will report annually on performance.
  • The MDMS will deliver a curriculum designed for medical professionals in rural practice.
  • Students will study at our regional campuses in Bendigo, Orange and Wagga Wagga and will undertake their clinical training in small rural and remote locations across Victoria and New South Wales.
  • Up to 85% of our students currently studying health sciences at Charles Sturt University and La Trobe University are employed in rural communities.
What is the evidence to show that when kids study locally they stay local?

Charles Sturt University and La Trobe are already training and providing the health workforce for regional NSW and Victoria. We are the number 1 educators of paramedics, nurses, dentists and psychologists. More than 75% of our health science students are from rural areas, and up to 85% move into rural employment after graduation. We know that if you train local kids locally, they will stay local.

Evidence:

  • The MDMS will recruit students from our regions using ‘years of schooling’ as a criterion so our students will be genuinely from our regions.
  • We know that a rural student who undertakes extended periods of training in a rural area is 4 times more likely to work in rural practice.
  • Rural students maintain their networks while they study and train. When they graduate, they want to live and work near family and friends.
  • Independent analysis prepared by PPB Advisory confirms that the Murray Darling Medical School will provide around 90 doctors to the Murray Darling region each year once fully operating.
Do Charles Sturt University and La Trobe University have the expertise to run a medical school?

CSU and La Trobe are already training and providing the health workforce for regional NSW and Victoria. We are the number 1 educators of paramedics, nurses, and dentists and psychologists. We know that to address doctor shortages in the region, we need to train them too. We also know a rural specific curriculum is needed to prepare our doctors for rural practice. CSU and La Trobe will model the MDMS on the successful and only outer regional medical school in Australia at James Cook University.

Evidence:

  • James Cook University’s medical school has delivered and the MDMS is based on this model. Over 10 years, 250 people have been trained and 200 are still practicing in the regions.
  • Independent analysis prepared by PPB Advisory proves the MDMS model will deliver for the Murray Darling Region. The MDMS will train local people to be local doctors. It will provide around 90 doctors to the Murray Darling region each year once fully operating.
  • CSU and La Trobe already train the health workforce for regional NSW and Victoria. We are experienced.
Doesn’t the Government already have programs to encourage doctors to regional Australia?

Regional medical workforce shortages are nothing new and successive governments have tried to solve the problem. Existing programs have failed.

Evidence:

  • Despite diligent efforts by Government, metropolitan medical graduates continue to shun rural and regional practice. Currently, only about 10% of medical school graduates go on to practice regional or rural medicine. Most are trained in the cities.
  • The MDMS model is potentially three to five times more cost efficient (in terms of Commonwealth Supported Places expenditure) than metropolitan universities in training doctors who will work in regional or rural Australia.
  • The Murray Darling Medical School will provide around 90 doctors to the region each year once fully operating.
  • The MDMS will get better results. It is the smart thing to do.