Milestone agreement signed to establish a new multi-disciplinary rural health training site in Devonport

Devonport City Council Tasmania

The University of Tasmania (UTAS) has been working closely with the Australian Government, Devonport City Council, local community organisations, health professionals, and residents throughout 2023 to spearhead a groundbreaking educational initiative designed to support students to undertake inter-professional training during their degrees. This collaborative effort marks one of the inaugural projects under Devonport’s “Living Well Health and Wellbeing Strategy,” with a specific focus on the “Being Well” component.

The initiative sees the establishment of a rural health training facility in East Devonport, a strategic move to bolster rural health training across the region. This setup will enable students from nursing and various allied health disciplines to collaborate intensively.

Devonport Mayor Alison Jarman expressed her enthusiasm about the project, highlighting the community’s need for improved access to health promotion resources.

“Many in our community suffer from long-term health conditions and often face challenges in accessing vital health information. This initiative not only emphasises the importance of early intervention and prevention, but also aims to enhance community understanding of wellness,” Mayor Jarman said.

Cr Jarman further noted the significant potential of the University’s presence in Devonport to facilitate educational and career opportunities in healthcare, ultimately nurturing local talent and contributing to a larger pool of allied health professionals in the region.

“The University’s School of Health Sciences will utilise the East Devonport Recreation and Function Centre as a base to establish a rural health training site to expand student placements, deliver rural training to nursing and allied health students, build local research capacity and support clinicians to assist rural training delivery. The partnership promises to deliver various programs in collaboration with community organisations, ensuring the Centre remains a vibrant hub for sporting and community groups.”

Following the Covid Clinic’s closure, the Centre has seen reduced activity during business hours. Mayor Jarman shared her enthusiasm about revitalising the space, aligning with the Devonport Sports Infrastructure Master Plan’s vision, and a broadening of the community benefit activities hosted at the facility.

This plan envisages Girdlestone Park and the Recreation Centre evolving into a vital community hub that integrates sporting, social, and educational activities, thereby enhancing individual and community health and wellbeing.

Final details regarding the operational aspects of the Devonport rural health training site are anticipated to be concluded in the latter half of this year. The project will also see minor enhancements to the building. The proposed works have been funded through the provision of support through the Australian Government, Department of Health & Aged Care, under the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program.

This partnership between the University of Tasmania and Devonport signifies a significant step towards creating a healthier, education-focused, and thriving community. It exemplifies a shared commitment to fostering health education, prevention, and care in regional settings, ensuring a brighter future for the region’s residents.

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