The State Government welcomes the announcement from the Albanese Government of a new program of rural medical student places through South Australia’s Flinders University.
This will mean more medical students trained in SA and students to undertake their entire medical degree in regional South Australia for the first time.
The additional 20 Commonwealth Supported Places, matched by a reallocation of 20 places by Flinders University, will mean that 40 extra students every year will be able to complete their training across regional South Australia from 2025. Flinders will receive $19.7 million in Federal Government funding and the largest share of places of any university in the country.
Flinders University currently offers medical degree placements to third-year students across a range of locations, including in the Barossa, Berri, Renmark, Mount Gambier, Murray Bridge and Victor Harbor. This funding will allow Flinders to extend its program so that students can undertake their entire four years of study in the regions.
All around Australia there are shortages of doctors, particularly in regional areas. The number of Australian graduates through universities is capped through the Commonwealth Supported Places program. The State Government has been consistently advocating for an increase in the number of locally trained doctors.
The State Government and regional Local Health Networks will work with Flinders as they implement the new training program and also work to help keep these new South Australian-trained students in our local health system.
As put by Chris Picton
I thank the Federal Health Minister Mark Butler, Education Minister Jason Clare, and Assistant Minister for Rural and Regional Health, Emma McBride, for this important announcement for training more doctors in country SA.
We know that having a sustainable workforce is the biggest hurdle facing our health system in regional South Australia.
Training more doctors here in South Australia, and having training taking place entirely in our regional areas, is absolutely vital to ensuring the future pipeline of regional doctors.
We know that doctors who are trained in regional areas and who have a connection to their local communities are more likely to stay and practice there.
I have been strongly advocating for an increase in the number of medical places in South Australia and delighted that this program comes with 20 more medical school places for Flinders University every year.
As put by Professor Colin Stirling, Vice-Chancellor, Flinders University
Flinders University is a proven leader in producing rural doctors who are well prepared for the challenges and rewards of rural practice.
Our rural medical students benefit from early and sustained exposure to rural health settings, and from learning alongside other health disciplines in interprofessional teams, developing strong connections which enhance their professional and personal development.
Upon graduating they are highly sought after by employers and make a significant contribution to the health and wellbeing of rural Australians.
We thank the Federal and South Australian governments, health service partners and our communities for their continued support and recognition of the excellence of our medical offerings.