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Curtin Medical School approval

Media release

Curtin University welcomes the Federal Government’s approval for its Medical School.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry and Premier Colin Barnett

The five-year direct-entry medical degree will help the State meet an urgent doctor shortage.  It will commence in 2017 with 60 domestic students per annum, increasing to 120 (110 domestic and 10 international students) by 2022.

Curtin Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said that the undergraduate medical degree will have a strong emphasis on primary care, which will position graduates well for rural and remote practice, as well as outer suburban locations, where there is an acute shortage of doctors.

“The program’s proposed commencement date and staged growth will ensure the availability of post-graduation clinical places for students,” Professor Terry said.

“Research has shown that hospitals in the eastern and southern suburbs will welcome medical students and this will be supported by placements in aged-care and mental health facilities as well as general practice and newly created clinical schools.

“All capital funding will be provided by Curtin and the WA State Government. The University will absorb all operating costs, forgoing all associated Commonwealth revenue, up to and including 2018/19.

“Curtin Medical School students will undertake a great deal of their clinical education at the University’s soon-to-be-established Midland Campus, along with our nursing and allied health students.

Curtin’s medical degree will be the only undergraduate entry program in the State, with offerings from the two other universities being graduate-entry, requiring the completion of a three-year Bachelor degree prior to entering a four-year medical course.

An independent report commissioned by Curtin in 2013, by Dr Felicity Jefferies, outlined the implications for the WA community if doctor shortages were not addressed.  They included higher costs for medical services, longer waiting times especially over winter, increased pressure on hospital emergency departments and hospital beds, increased pressure on other health workers, and poorer access to medical services especially in rural, regional and outer metropolitan areas.