THERE are more medical students wanting to come to Tamworth than we can cater for, so the University of Newcastle is building a solution.
University of Newcastle director of regional campuses Trevor Gerdsen was in Tamworth this week to talk about the federally-funded $15 million Tamworth Education Centre (TEC).
The University of Newcastle has the Department of Rural Health in the grounds of Tamworth hospital, but will expand with the TEC to be built on Johnston St between the Tamworth Correctional Centre and the grounds of McCarthy Catholic College.
The TEC will accommodate about 50 students in five accommodation blocks and include a two-storey education facility. It will house lecture and seminar rooms as well as simulation laboratories that use computer-controlled mannequins that students can practice inserting intravenous lines and other real-life situations and clinical laboratories which will look like a ward and students can practise basic patient care and get the best
“(Member for New England) Tony Windsor was instrumental in securing the funding,” Mr Gerdsen said.
“The accommodation supports students coming here on their placements and it makes it easier to rotate students on placement through regional areas. This is all about increasing medical placements in rural and regional areas. We have more medical students wanting to come here than we can place.”
Mr Gerdsen said the theory was that if medical students had rural or regional area experience during their training, they were more likely to return
to these areas when they were fully qualified.
“The Tamworth-based University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health is the longest-standing rural school and we have 33 medicine students,” he said.
Fifth-year medical students don’t spend any time at Newcastle. They spend a full year in Tamworth and there are 220 allied health students in Tamworth who can spend a couple of weeks, up to a year studying and
training in Tamworth.
Tenders have closed for the TEC and are being assessed with the successful contractor expected to be announced in mid- to late-March.
“The community will then see some action on the site,” Mr Gerdsen said.
The UDRH building will then be re-purposed, with many of the teaching facilities and functions moved to the new building.