AMAQ backs exciting Bundy doctor program
THE Australian Medical Association of Queensland has backed a project that will see a new medical program built in Bundaberg and Central Queensland.
But despite the support, AMAQ's Dr Bav Manoharan said he had concerns about the "redistribution of Commonwealth Supported Places for medical students from cities to the regions”.
On Wednesday Wide Bay and Central Queensland health bosses and CQUniversity and UQ representatives signed a MOU to work together to bring the medical school to fruition by 2022.
Dr Manoharan told the NewsMail there were "too many” medical students being trained and a lack of permanent qualified regional doctors to teach them.
He raised concerns the new medical schools would exacerbate the issue if the Federal Government did not step in and cap the number of full-fee paying students at metropolitan universities.
"It (the project) creates the best incentive for metropolitan schools that are going to be forced to give up these positions to enrol more international and domestic full-fee paying students,” Dr Manoharan said.
He said the current number of medical students was too high and they were "all in the wrong spots”. They needed to be moved to "places they need to be”, agreeing a CQUniversity medical school in Bundaberg and Rockhampton was part of the solution.
"But we know the (city) universities are not regulated by the government in terms of full-fee paying places,” he said, urging the government to introduce quotas in this space.
Dr Manoharan applauded the Wide Bay project for local medical students.
"It gives the ability for someone to live in that region and go through their entire education, all the way to a medical student and beyond in that region,” Dr Manoharan said. "The research is very clear; if you're from a regional area, if you have roots there, if you spend time there while training as a doctor ... you're far more likely to stay.
"We really see this as a valuable way of changing the workforce in these regions ...”
A Queensland Health spokesperson said despite a focus on recruitment and retention of doctors in regional and remote communities, shortages were still a problem.
"This is an issue experienced by both the Wide Bay and Central Queensland Hospital and Health Services'. In fact, our regional areas have some of the highest numbers of locum doctors in the state,” the spokesperson said.
"This plan is not about creating extra medical student placements, it is about better allocating existing Commonwealth-supported medical school positions.”
See tomorrow's NewsMail for more about the school.