Coorong benefits from Coalition investment in rural health training

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Date published:

February 21, 2022

Type of support:

Press release

Public:

General public

An innovative health training program will be implemented at Murray Bridge, Berri and other sites in the Riverland Mallee Coorong (RMC) region, improving access to health services and providing invaluable training opportunities for students in health.

MP for Barker, Tony Pasin, today announced that Flinders University will receive $1.94 million from the federal coalition government to establish a new model of person-centred, multidisciplinary health training courses for the region of CMR.

Pasin said Flinders will work closely with the local RMC Health Network and Indigenous Medical Services to provide the opportunity for approximately 18 students each year to participate in 4 to 6 week training placements, which is equivalent to approximately 360 weeks of internships in local communities over the next two years.

“Additionally, Flinders will employ several local academic and administrative staff to work in the area, attracting and retaining healthcare personnel,” Pasin said.

Federal Regional Health Minister Dr David Gillespie joined Mr Pasin today at Flinders University’s Murray Bridge campus to announce the investment in the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program of the coalition government.

Pasin said the project will extend the university’s existing rural health training activities to new, more remote settings, as well as a wider range of health professions.

Dr Gillespie, a former regional medical officer, said the project was part of a $14.25 million investment to establish multidisciplinary health training demonstration sites in more remote parts of Australia.

“It will give students from many health disciplines the experience, skills and positive learning experiences to encourage them to return to these fields after graduation,” Dr. Gillespie said.

“Furthermore, it will provide local students with new healthcare career paths while improving access to local healthcare services for patients now and in the future.”

Mr. Pasin said Flinders will organize recruitment activities in schools to create a career path for young medical professionals to become educators, supervisors and mentors for local students.

Flinders co-designed this project, working with local health departments to create more multidisciplinary placements for students from Flinders, University of South Australia, University of Adelaide and TAFE SA.

To ensure the project is suitable for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Flinders will second a cultural expert from the Aboriginal Health Unit of the local RMC Health Network.

“Flinders will expand collaborations with the local indigenous medical service, Moorundi, and several community and non-governmental health service providers in the area to expand existing training programs,” Pasin said.

Dr Gillespie said the training centers would build on Flinders’ existing rural health training staff and infrastructure, providing multiple benefits to local people.

Flinders will give priority to students from indigenous and rural backgrounds.

“Located in an area with one of the largest indigenous populations in South Africa, the initiative has the potential to transform health outcomes for indigenous communities,” Pasin said.

“Bringing staff and students to the area will also make an economic contribution to the local community.

Flinders will purchase two additional houses for student accommodation, one in Berri and one in Murray Bridge, which will actively encourage students to stay in the area rather than commuting from Adelaide, adding to their overall rural experience.

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