Budget banks on medical students falling in love with country life to fix rural doctor shortfall
The Melbourne-based 24-year-old never wanted a rural career until he spent two years of his medical degree in Gippsland in south-east Victoria.
He was initially “pretty shattered” when Monash University sent him to the country for his third-year training, but soon found working in regional health “a revelation”.
“I was just opened up to this big new world of medical practice and … all the opportunities you can get in the country,” he said, including winning a footy grand final with the local team.
“I fell in love with the place … there was a whole community out there that took you under their wing.”
He would have considered staying in Gippsland to do his obstetrics and gynaecology training, but it wasn’t really an option.
The Federal Government is working to change that as part of a 10-year program to add thousands of extra doctors and nurses in the regions.
It has earmarked nearly $100 million to help universities establish medical school networks in the Murray-Darling region, which would allow students to complete their entire graduate and specialist training in the country.
This would greatly increase the number of medical graduates who stay and work in regional areas, the Vice-Chancellor of La Trobe University, Professor John Dewar, told the ABC.