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Planning ramps up for the opening of the Goldfields University Department of Rural Health

Progress continues towards establishing the Goldfields University Department of Rural Health, which local Federal MP Rick Wilson says will help ease the shortage of health professionals in regional areas when it starts operating from next year.

Mr Wilson recently visited Curtin University’s Perth campus to discuss the next stage of the Goldfields UDRH.

The visit also marked the first meeting of the Goldfields UDRH operational group, as planning for the Kalgoorlie-Boulder campus’ UDRH gears up ahead of welcoming allied health and nursing students for undergraduate placements training next year.

Mr Wilson said the UDRH would boost the Goldfields’ rural primary care workforce, improve health outcomes and give students the experience of working and living in a country setting.

“There is a critical shortage of health professionals in many regional areas of WA, including the Goldfields where issues such as Indigenous health and a shortage of child psychologists are among high-priority concerns,” he said.

“The fact the UDHR is now planning for the operational phase is a major step toward tackling these issues.

“Students will work alongside organisations such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service and will engage with local Indigenous health services, which currently do an amazing job but would benefit from having more health professionals working with them on the front line.”

Curtin University deputy pro vice-chancellor professor Adrian North said the university was “well on track in planning the Goldfields UDRH and hope to be welcoming our first staff and students in 2023”.

“This will build on the success of Curtin’s Kalgoorlie Rural Health Campus and our partnerships with the WA Country Health Service and Royal Flying Doctor Service Western Operations.

“We cannot wait to further develop our collaborations with community and industry to improve the wellbeing and health of our regional areas.”

WA Country Health Service board chair Dr Neale Fong said through the WACHS-Curtin Alliance they had been able to develop new initiatives focused on supporting the current workforce and growing the workforce of the future.

“WACHS will be closely involved in the planning of the UDRH to ensure the future workforce is ready for frontline healthcare,” he said.

Commonwealth funding for the Goldfields UDRH was announced in March.

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