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Curtin defends medical school proposal

Media release

Curtin University has responded to comments critical of its plans to establish a medical school and will launch its community awareness campaign this weekend.

Professor Jill Downie, Pro-Vice Chancellor Health Sciences at Curtin, said that the University currently educates more health professionals than any other WA university and is very experienced in clinical education and training. It also teaches much of the first two years of the University of Notre Dame’s medical degree.

“The Department of Health has predicted WA’s expected population growth will lead to a 32 per cent increase in hospital activity over the next decade and will be matched by a 30 per cent increase in hospital beds,” she said.

“We are also aware of a large number of doctors willing to work as clinical supervisors, especially in community and general practice based settings.

“These factors will create the necessary clinical placements for Curtin medical students, even without factoring in an expected large increase in private hospital beds over the coming decade.”

Professor Downie also dismissed claims that the quality of clinical training would be jeopardised by increases in the number of students.

“The quality of medical education in Australia is governed by an independent accreditation body, the Australian Medical Council.

“All graduates from Curtin would be required to meet these standards.”

She also said that the model of education Curtin was developing would particularly focus on the management of chronic diseases, issues relating to ageing, mental health, community and regional medicine and the need to work interprofessionally with other health experts.

“Curtin’s experience in regional education has shown that exposure to country areas increases the likelihood of graduates choosing to live outside of the metropolitan area, and we believe this approach will develop doctors willing and able to work regionally.”

Professor Downie also said Curtin’s first medical graduates would be entering the workforce in 2019, ideally timed to meet the demand identified by the WA Government.

Media contact:

Julia Nicol, Director of PR, Curtin University, 089 266 7711, 0409202134,