A university and hospital partnership is set to train up to 40 doctors in regional Queensland each year. Picture: iStock
A university and hospital partnership is set to train up to 40 doctors in regional Queensland each year. Picture: iStock

New partnership to train doctors in regional QLD

UP TO 40 doctors in regional Queensland will be trained each year following an Australian-first university and hospital partnership.

Rockhampton and Bundaberg will receive their first student intake in 2022 under the new Regional Medical Pathway, due to be formalised today between CQUniversity, The University of Queensland, and the Central Queensland and Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services.

CQUniversity vice-chancellor and president Professor Nick Klomp said the formalisation of the partnership was a significant milestone for regional healthcare delivery.

CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Nick Klomp. Picture: Supplied
CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Nick Klomp. Picture: Supplied

Professor Klomp said the announcement was the direct result of four parties coming together to address a critical issue, “the future of healthcare in regional Queensland”.

He said the Regional Medical Pathway would ensure more doctors were trained regionally and stayed regionally once they entered the profession.

“I’m thrilled to partner with UQ, CQHHS and WBHHS on this game-changing approach to medical training in regional Queensland,” he said.

Students will complete a three-year Bachelor of Medical Science (Pathway to Medicine) course with CQUniversity, before moving into The University of Queensland’s four-year MD program, which are both offered locally.

The University of Queensland vice-chancellor and president Professor Deborah Terry said the pathway would help address the difficulties in attracting and retaining doctors in regional, remote and rural areas.

The University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Deborah Terry. Picture: Glenn Hunt
The University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Deborah Terry. Picture: Glenn Hunt

“Medical workforce shortages exist in regional areas across Australia and around the globe and I am confident together we can achieve a positive, sustained improvement in health outcomes in Central Queensland and Wide Bay,” Prof Terry said.

“The regional delivery of the UQ MD will build on our current Rural Clinical School footprint in Rockhampton, Bundaberg and Hervey Bay, as well as smaller rural hospitals and general practices in the regions.

“We are delighted to be a part of this exciting collaboration to create a comprehensive, integrated premedical and medical education and training pathway.”

The hospital and health services will provide student placements, internship opportunities and postgraduate training places within their regions.

This will include major hospitals in Rockhampton, Gladstone, Emerald, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay and Maryborough as well as rural hospitals and multipurpose health services.

The hospitals would also continue to work with the nation’s specialist medical colleges and the Australian Medical Council to extend their accredited specialist medical training pathways and enable them to provide more opportunities for senior doctors of the future.

The four partner organisations have worked together for more than two years to finalise the delivery of the Regional Medical Pathway.

The first intake of students to the CQUniversity Bachelor of Medical Science (Pathway to Medicine) course will commence in Term 1, 2022, with students progressing to The University of Queensland MD program from 2025.

Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service chief executive Steve Williamson said communities in Central Queensland and Wide Bay could now be confident future health workforces would be better equipped to deal with community growth and changing healthcare needs.

Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive, Steve Williamson. Picture: Supplied
Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive, Steve Williamson. Picture: Supplied

“The Central Queensland and Wide Bay regions are growing areas and the communities have an expectation that healthcare delivery will meet future demand,” he said.

“The Regional Medical Pathway has been specifically designed to secure long-term, locally trained workforces for the regions.”

Chief executive of Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service, Debbie Carroll, said the new partnership represented the first opportunity for aspiring Central Queensland and Wide Bay doctors to be trained in their own backyard.

Chief Executive of Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service, Debbie Carroll. Picture: Mike Knott
Chief Executive of Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service, Debbie Carroll. Picture: Mike Knott

“The pathway will improve accessibility for regionally based students, allowing them to study, train and practice in the regions they are from,” she said.

“For many students, having the support of their family, friends and the community they grew up in will aid their academic and professional success.

“This also helps us to provide greater continuity of care and deliver more high-quality care close to home, which makes a huge difference to our communities.”

Applications for entry into the CQUniversity Bachelor of Medical Science (Pathway to Medicine) course will open in 2021.

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