A medical school at CQU – just  wait for the election after next

A year after the university signalled the idea policy ducks are lining up

Last March then CQU VC Scott Bowman said there was “potential” for a medical school on the Rockhampton campus (CMM March 9 218). A year on Bowman has retired but what was potential is closer to being probable.

It looks like CQU has spent 12 months lining up support and yesterday it, the University of Queensland and the two relevant regional health services all adopted an MOU, in the presence of state health minister Steven Miles. Mr Miles says the plan is to have a “full medical programme” in-place in Bundaberg and Rockhampton, home to CQU campuses, by 2022, reaching 120 students in each locale by 2026.

That this would be a University of Queensland medical programme should not bother CQU VC Nick Klomp. For a start, CQU could not secure accreditation for a medical school of its own by 2022 and UoQ has an established clinical school in Rockhampton. The benefit for Professor Klomp is the growth and prestige a medical school will bring CQU’s health and medicine courses, – training nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, radiographers-not to mention the chance of an independent medical school in the future.

But one thing puzzles CMM – where are the medicine places to come from? UoQ could use some of its existing federally-funded quota, which would require generosity not common in medical schools, so perhaps the partnership plans to slug the feds for new regional places.  It looks a little late for the federal election expected in May, but it will make a great local issue for the next one.


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