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New centre in Orange trains medicine students in the bush, for the bush

10 March 2021

The new clinical training centre at Charles Stuart University’s Orange health precinct that will help train the next generation of rural, regional and remote doctors was today toured by Federal Health Minister, Mark Coulton; Federal Member for Calare, Andrew Gee; and National Rural Health Commissioner, Adj. Professor Ruth Stewart.

The centre accommodates a range of medical education services for the Doctor of Medicine degree, including introductions to clinical medicine and tutorial sessions, as well as professional development activities for clinicians and medical educators in the central west area of NSW.

Minister Coulton said students in the first intake of the Charles Sturt University and Western Sydney University Joint Program in Medicine (JPM) will use the centre to undertake clinical skills training and study.

The JPM is a five-year, school leaver program that has a strong focus on rural generalism and inter‑professional learning.

"The Orange Rural Medical School is important because we know if we can get more students to study in regional Australia, they are more likely to want to live, work and raise a family in regional Australia at the completion of their training,” Minister Coulton said.

“These doctors will better understand the specific health needs of rural communities – and that is of immense importance to patients and their families.

“The school has a target of 80 per cent of new enrolments originating from rural areas. There will also be a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander enrolments.”

Federal Member for Calare and Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education Andrew Gee said he was delighted to be meeting face to face with the region’s future leading medical minds.

“This brand new medical school which we are touring today will continue to transform not only the lives of our regional students, but the communities and economies of Orange and the Central West for generations to come,” Mr Gee said.

“The doctors who graduate from CSU will go on to anchor medical services in the bush and help ensure that our country communities have a future through the vital healthcare they will provide.

“This is a real example of people power securing a fantastic outcome. We fought hard for this facility and it’s a great pleasure to be celebrating these early and important milestones with the community.”

National Rural Health Commissioner, Professor Stewart said the school demonstrates the Australian Government’s commitment to enabling future doctors to train in rural areas, opening up more opportunities to bridge the city-country divide by providing quality medical services to areas such as the central west.

“From my own experience of working rurally, I know the skills these students will learn by studying in a regional location will put them on a path to delivering healthcare in rural or remote areas and improve the health outcomes of those who chose to live in the regions,” Adjunct Professor Stewart said.

Under the Murray-Darling Medical Schools Network established by the Australian Government, Charles Sturt University is receiving $22 million in capital funding for new and upgraded teaching and learning facilities in Orange.

Eighty per cent of students’ clinical training will occur in regional areas as part of the Murray-Darling Medical Schools Network, while training that needs to be undertaken in a metropolitan location will occur in Western Sydney.