CQU hopes to have a medical school based at its Bundaberg and Rockhampton conferences teaching in three years. VC Scott Bowman detailed the proposal on Friday, which is a combined effort with two Queensland state government hospital and health service regions.
And if the feds will not fund it the university is said to be willing to consider establishing the school independent of government, enrolling full-fee students.
CQU already teaches a range of health and para-med courses and Professor Bowman says it is time for the region the university serves to have a “fully fledged” medical school. The university suggests students would complete a three-year medical-science qualification and progress to a four year postgraduate medical degree.
The proposal is intended to address the shortfall of doctors in CQU’s region and assumes graduates tend to remain in the area where they trained.
Professor Bowman acknowledged the Commonwealth’s freeze on student places was a problem for the plan.
The other major potential obstacle is post graduation hospital training places but this appears to be addressed by state government hospital regions already being onboard. The venture partners are already in contact with accreditation agency the Australian Medical Council and Professor Bowman is said to be ready to brief rural health minister Bridget McKenzie.
The CQU plan is a second health problem for Senator McKenzie, who already must manage expectations from supporters of Charles Sturt U and La Trobe U’s long-proposed Murray Darling Medical School who hope for favourable news in the Budget, as they have hoped for in the previous five.