The University of Newcastle has welcomed the Australian Government's commitment of more than $6 million dollars for a new multi-purpose education centre in Taree for medical and allied health students to complete clinical training.
The Taree Medical Education Centre, to be located on the grounds of Manning Base Hospital, will be home to the University Department of Rural Health (UDRH) and the Rural Clinical School (RCS).
The funding was announced by the Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon. Nicola Roxon MP, during a visit to Taree today.
Professor Mike Calford, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University's Faculty of Health, said the new Centre was a significant win for the Taree region.
"The Centre will provide students with access to first class facilities in a non-metropolitan setting when they undertake their clinical placements," Professor Calford said.
"Students from medicine, nursing, physiotherapy, nutrition and dietetics, radiography, pharmacy and occupational therapy will use the facility.
"The University, and its partners, warmly welcomes the commitment of funding by the Australian Government. Efforts are also underway to attract additional funding to support the Government's contribution."
The Taree Medical Education Centre will feature clinical laboratories, tutorial rooms, office for senior staff and video conferencing facilities. When complete, it will be home to up to 20 academic and support staff.
The Centre will be modelled on the Tamworth Medical Education Centre and is expected to be completed by late 2010.
Acting Director of the UDRH/RCS, Associate Professor Steve Doherty, said there was a strong commitment to training students in regional, rural and remote locations.
"There is a chronic shortage of health care workers outside major metropolitan areas. It is important that we expose undergraduate students to career and lifestyle opportunities outside the big cities," Associate Professor Doherty said.
"We are pleased to have considerable support from the local community which will ensure that this purpose-built education and training facility fulfils our needs and contributes significantly to local infrastructure."
The UDRS and RSC are a partnership between the University of Newcastle, the University of New England, Hunter New England Health and Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing.