Coalition investment helping medical students to keep Gympie healthy

The Liberal and Nationals Government is supporting medical students, nurses and other health professionals to train in Gympie, boosting essential health care services for local patients.

Federal Member for Wide Bay and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Llew O’Brien said the Federal Coalition Government is investing more than $13 million over the next two years, enabling more rural health training in Queensland to be delivered through Griffith University’s Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program.

“We are working with Griffith University’s rural clinical schools, funded through the RHMT, to improve the recruitment – and retention – of health professionals in regional and rural Queensland, including in the Gympie region, benefitting local patients and medical providers,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The rural clinical school employs four locals who live in Gympie and work with providers in our region to facilitate training opportunities for Griffith University students,” Mr O’Brien said.

The rural clinical school also supported short-term medical placements, totalling 14 weeks.

“We can look forward to the program providing more trainees to support our hardworking health workforce, who will help patients, under supervision,” Mr O’Brien said.

“We also know that doctors who complete their training in rural and regional areas are more likely to stay here long-term, so this is a positive step towards increasing the medical workforce in Gympie and in Wide Bay.”       

Mr O’Brien said having Regional Health Minister Dr David Gillespie tour the area last week gave the Minister further insight into local issues and was an opportunity for local medicos to meet the Minister in their medical practices.

“Dr Gillespie was a rural medical specialist for many years and understands the benefits of practising in regional communities, and how to encourage more medical professionals to do the same,” Mr O’Brien said.

Dr Gillespie said the benefits of the RHMT program are not only in better-trained health professionals.

“RHMT is improving outcomes for patients in the bush and is an economic boon for regions as the trainees live – and spend – in the local community,” Dr Gillespie said.

Dr Gillespie said the RHMT program supports medical, nursing, midwifery, allied health and dental students to undertake rural training through a network of Rural Clinical Schools, Regional Training Hubs, University Departments of Rural Health and dental faculties offering rural placements.

Mr O’Brien said Griffith University received funding of $13.161 million under the RHMT program for the 2019 to 2021 calendar years for RHMT activities and training locations across Queensland. The University will receive a further $13.75 million between the 2022 and 2024 calendar years to continue their important work to train the future rural health workforce.