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Hopes for rural medical school.

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Sandy Macdonald The Nationals Senator for NSW Deputy Leader of The Nationals in the Senate 16 March 2005

Hopes for Rural Medical School The importance of rural health and the development of a rural medical school in New England have been discussed in Parliament overnight, with NSW Nationals Senator Sandy Macdonald delivering a speech to the Senate.

"There is a proposal to establish a rural medical school as a collaborative effort between the University of New England at Armidale, Charles Sturt University and Southern Cross University, traversing the three campuses," Senator Macdonald said.

"Statisticians have reported that students who study in regional Australia are nine times more likely to return or stay in rural areas to take up their chosen professions," he said.

"The development of a rural medical school is of utmost importance because we need to stem the shortage of medical practitioners in rural and regional Australia."

Senator Macdonald said the three Universities have set up a Working Party to look at securing funding for a feasibility study for the Rural Medical School.

"I have supported this concept from the outset and will be looking at securing meetings between the working party and Government Ministers to see how the Commonwealth can assist," he said.

"A rural medical school would be a great boon for health care in rural and regional NSW and would build upon the Australian Government's current rural health initiatives."

"These include the $562 million Rural Health Strategy, medical -school scholarships for rural students, the University Departments of Rural Health and Tamworth's own GP Access Centre initiative."

"We must encourage any proposal which brings medical services to rural and regional NSW," Senator Macdonald said.

"If a medical student that comes from the country is trained in the country, they are nine times more likely to stay in the country to practice."

Senator Macdonald's speech to the Senate last night can be viewed on his website at .

Media Contact: Rachel Kingsford Smith 6766 6998 / 0427 570 506