THE National Party is backing Charles Sturt University’s Doctors for the Bush campaign.
Delegates at the Nationals’ Federal Conference carried a motion on Sunday to support CSU’s proposal to establish a new medical school to address chronic doctor shortages in rural and regional Australia.
CSU vice-chancellor Professor Andrew Vann welcomed the very public commitment.
“The endorsement of the Nationals is important to show the government that rural and regional Australians are united behind this very important initiative,” he said.
“This follows news that more than 21,000 Australians have signed up on Facebook as supporters of Charles Sturt University’s planned medical school.
“While we remain hopeful that the current Government will fund this initiative in the next federal budget, it is important for rural and regional communities to know that the Nationals are committed to this initiative.”
Prof Vann believes there is a growing recognition across all political parties of the serious impact that the rural doctor shortage has on the lives of families and individuals.
“There also appears to be an increased awareness that people will not live in rural towns, let alone move here, if they can’t get access to a doctor when they need one,” he said.
“The commitment by the Nationals follows mounting evidence that current rural medical education strategies are not working, and that we need to focus more of our resources on rurally-based and delivered programs if we are serious about addressing rural doctor shortages.”
Prof Vann said Rural Health Workforce Australia has also recently reported that after more than a decade of predominantly city-operated rural medical education programs fewer than five per cent of Australia’s medical graduates are entering rural practice, despite claims that these programs would help solve the rural doctor shortage.
Charles Sturt University is running a Doctors for the Bush campaign, which has been backed by The National Party.
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