Central Queensland medical program up for discussion

A doctor training program for Central Queensland and Wide Bay is a step closer to reality, with discussions between government and industry in Rockhampton yesterday.

University of Queensland Faculty of Medicine Executive Dean Professor Geoff McColl said the partnership confirmed UQ’s commitment to doctor training in rural and remote communities.

“UQ welcomes the opportunity to work collaboratively on this new partnership,” Professor McColl said.

“We’re looking to achieve a full medical program which enables medical students to complete the entirety of their medical education within Central Queensland and Wide Bay.

“This venture builds on our experience of the UQ Rural Clinical School sites in Rockhampton, Bundaberg and Hervey Bay as well as the smaller rural hospitals and general practices in the region.

“With an existing presence in the region, we have the start of a critical mass of excellent teachers and staff.

“The strong working relationship already established with the hospital and health services, and consolidating ventures undertaken with CQUniversity, open exciting new possibilities.”

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said key stakeholders would sign a memorandum of understanding to develop and deliver a partnership to achieve a full medical program in Central Queensland and Wide Bay.

“A full medical program in Central Queensland and Wide Bay would enable medical students to complete their entire medical education in the region,” Mr Miles said.

“We know that our capacity to provide quality care and ensure patient safety into the future is dependent upon the availability of a skilled workforce.

“The plan is to have the medical program in place by 2022, starting with 30 students in Central Queensland and 30 in Wide Bay, and growing each year to reach at least 120 students in each area by 2026.

“Essentially, it would see CQUniversity, UQ and the hospital and health services partner to deliver a full medical program out of the Bundaberg and Rockhampton regions.”

The roundtable will be attended by Central Queensland and Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services executives and staff, CQUniversity, UQ, Queensland Health, the Commonwealth Department of Health and international experts on regional medical programs.