Funded by the Australian Government’s Clinical Training Funding (CTF) program, the $4.15M teaching facility and student accommodation complex at Ballina District Hospital opened in mid-July. Welcomed by NNSW LHD board chair Dr Brian Pezzutti, the Federal Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek and Page MP Janelle Saffin inspected the impressive two-storey facility that will accommodate students assisted by the University Centre for Rural Health (UCRH) to undertake their training locally.
The project will enable an integrated approach to clinical training, with students from a range of disciplines - medical, nursing and allied health - living and working together at the same purpose-built site.
“When students come to Ballina to train, not only will they enjoy a wonderful coastal lifestyle, but they can live and train in a state of the art facility on the grounds of Ballina Hospital,” Ms Saffin said.
“It is an investment in our future health services because we know that some students will come back and work here.”
The UCRH-run facility is expected to train and accommodate around 200 students during the first year of operation, with capacity to provide short-stay beds for up to 20 students at a time. This can be expanded by a further nine beds in the future.
More med students arrive
A total of 39 senior medical students from the University of Wollongong and the University of Western Sydney arrived in mid-July to take up 12-month North Coast placements.
Their placements are in a range of locations - Bangalow, Byron Bay, Casino, Goonellabah, Grafton, Lennox Head, Lismore, Mullumbimby, Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads.
After orientation activities, including an Indigenous Cultural Awareness Day at Cape Byron State Conservation Area, the students commended their clinical training along with education on rural and remote public health and multidisciplinary teamwork.
UCRH Director of Education Michael Douglas said, “We are very proud of the calibre and quality of the facilities and clinicians that service the North Coast…our experience has shown that it is frequently the seed that germinates for lifelong commitment to rural health.”