There is a chronic shortage of doctors in rural Australia. The cold, hard truth is that, despite well-intentioned efforts, the current system of medical training has not been able to bridge this particular divide between city and country. The Murray Darling Medical School aims to fix this problem by training doctors in the bush for practice in the bush.
Vested interests in this debate abound. The largest vested interest seems to lie with the big urban universities who continue to oppose the new medical school. In what I would describe as a spectacular public relations own goal, one of those universities, that being Sydney, recently took out full-page advertisements in our local newspapers to voice its opposition. I'd like to thank that university not only for shining a spotlight on the nature of the vested interest at stake but also for taking public support for the proposal to new heights. My office has since been inundated with support for the Murray Darling Medical School from doctors, nurses, members of parliament, religious and community leaders and people from all walks of life who have simply emailed in, urging us to keep going.
The Murray Darling Medical School recently appointed Professor John Dwyer AO as its Foundation Professor of Medicine and Surgery and Professor Richard Hays as its planning dean. Both are eminent Australians and leaders in their fields.
Country communities are tired of inequality between the city and the bush. The public support for this new medical school is overwhelming. The time for the Murray Darling Medical School has come.