New med school places in a Queensland hospital set a painful precedent in NSW

The feds have come good with medical student places for the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, which might not be good for a proposed medical school in NSW

Health Minister Greg Hunt yesterday announced Canberra will fund 50 places at the hospital, filled by students from Griffith University’s medical school. The announcement means the bells-and-whistles new centre will be a comprehensive teaching hospital, with University of the Sunshine Coast providing health science courses.

This is a big win for Griffith, USC and local Liberals, including member for Fairfax, Ted O’Brien, who says doctors who study in regions are more likely to stay on and practise in them. It is less of one for Assistant Health Minister Dr David Gillespie, who is waiting on the results of a review of the distribution of medical school places before announcing whether Charles Sturt and La Trobe universities get the new Murray Darling Medical School they have long lobbied for, using the same argument as Mr O’Brien.

While more places for Griffith U’s existing operation has not especially upset the med school establishment, universities with regional training centres on the MDMS’s proposed patch are adamant in their opposition. Dr Gillespie will either upset them or have to explain to CSU and La Trobe while the Sunshine Coast is no precedent for their plan, which will not go down well at either uni.

A point made last night by La Trobe University VC John Dewar and his CSU colleague Andrew Vann, who welcomed the new training places on the Sunshine Coast, and renewed their congratulations at this year’s opening of Curtin University’s medical school. “We look forward to a government decision on a new Murray Darling Medical School for the benefit of everyone in regional New South Wales and regional Victoria later in the year,” they said.