Featured News JCU welcomes new Commonwealth Supported Places for medicine

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Thu, 31 Mar 2022

JCU welcomes new Commonwealth Supported Places for medicine

The Science Place, Bebegu Yumba campus Townsville

James Cook University has welcomed the Federal Government’s Budget announcement of a boost of 80 new places to train more doctors in rural areas.

Communities of northern Queensland are some of the most desperately in need of doctors, particularly doctors who are locally-trained and connected in the region.

JCU is Australia’s most successful university in producing medical and health professionals who go on to provide health care for regional and remote communities. Despite this, JCU has Queensland’s smallest allocation of Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) in medicine.

Vice Chancellor Professor Simon Biggs said, “an expansion of JCU’s medicine program by 80 places would make a real difference to the healthcare needs of northern Queensland. This would also reinforce the Morrison Government’s commitment to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, which is a central component of the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap.

“The generous $60 million commitment by the Australian Government to the Cairns University Hospital project through JCU signifies an acknowledgement of the critical role that JCU plays in addressing the workforce challenges facing the region.

“There is a shortage of medical professionals in this region and additional medical places would complement the new development and significantly bolster the capacity of our regional medical workforce in Queensland and northern Australia.”

Clive Skarott, Chair of the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service Board said, “we know that growing our own medical talent here in Cairns will improve the supply of doctors to meet the health needs of our community into the future. To make this a reality, we need JCU to be able to offer more medical training places, and for this training to start from the first year of doctor education in Cairns.

“Expanding this medical education will be a vital component of our becoming Cairns University Hospital.

“Communities of northern Queensland are some of the most desperately in need of doctors, particularly doctors who are committed and connect to the region.

“JCU is making a difference by offering the later years of their medical degree here in Cairns. They have an outstanding record in training doctors who go on to work in regional and remote communities across Queensland and we need this to expand.”

Professor Richard Murray, Deputy Vice Chancellor of the Division of Tropical Health and Medicine said, “JCU is committed to strengthening its successful, vertically integrated and geographically distributed medical and health professional education programs in regional and remote Queensland. A key investment for this is additional capacity in JCU’s medical program to enable full ‘end-to-end’ delivery of training in Cairns and Mackay as well as Townsville.”

JCU’s Cairns Campus Director Dr. David Craig said, “currently JCU offers medicine in Cairns and Mackay only in the final years of medical training. New places would significantly enhance JCU’s capability in the north and provide social and economic benefits for the whole region.”

According to data from the National Graduate Outcomes Survey, nationally, 20% of recent health graduates in outer regional, remote and very remote locations are JCU graduates.