New training hub in Wagga hopes to improve rural GP recruitment

A cure to the rural doctor shortage is on its way to the Riverina, a Wagga medical school says. 

UNSW Rural Clinical School chief John Preddy said future students could become general practitioners, fully completing their medical education in the region the first time. 

Doctor Preddy said the establishment of a “training hub” worth almost $1 million would be based in Wagga and Griffith within two years.

He said current students had to complete part of their studies in regional areas – a requirement that hoped to address the recruitment of rural doctors.

However Dr Preddy said it was not a complete solution as graduates still had to work in Canberra, Sydney or Melbourne to become practicing GPs.  

He said graduates would move to the city, their life would change and many would never come back.

“The program is completely disjointed,” Dr Preddy said. “But now we can maximise regional training opportunities for all doctors interested in working in country towns.”

He said the hub would involve local health services, creating a “seamless training pipeline”. 

“We’re quite excited,” Dr Preddy said. “We’ll be working with Notre Dame university to provide best training opportunities we can.”

It's home for me. - Maggie-kate Minogue

He said UNSW could accept local students into medical school, training them as junior doctors and GPs.

In turn, Dr Preddy said it would allow rural and regional Australians greater access to healthcare services. 

Wagga medical students Maggie-kate Minogue and Joseph Murphy said they could now achieve their career goals and work in the region they called home. 

They said there were so many benefits of working in a regional areas

“I grew up here … so [the new hub] means I’m able to stay in Wagga and do my internship and continue my training in the Riverina,” Ms Minogue said.

“It’s home for me.”

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