Funding injection for Midland medical school

A 20-year vision to establish a university in Midland became a reality today when Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced federal support for a medical school in the area.

Curtin University plans to open the medical school to 60 students in 2017, with placements increasing to 120 students a year by 2022.

The school will give priority to students from disadvantaged and indigenous backgrounds to enter the medical profession and address WA�s shortage of country doctors.

Land for the university has been set aside at the corner of Centennial Place and Clayton Street in the Midland Workshops precinct, which is flagged for further development later this year.

Local members of parliament at state and federal levels have pushed for the university since the idea was first mooted in 1995.

After a prospective private university ditched its plans to open a Midland campus in 2011, the plan then hinged on federal funding, which Mr Abbott announced this morning.

�This is a Commonwealth commitment that will eventually run to around $20 million a year when the school is fully operational,� he said.

�WA needs more local doctors and thanks to the announcement today, that�s exactly what will happen.�

However, not everyone is happy with the announcement.

The Australian Medical Association and the Australian Medical Students’ Association say the school is unnecessary.

Both advise that the government must first address the issue of providing more vocational placements to existing students before adding more students to the bottleneck.

But Curtin vice-chancellor Deborah Terry said the starting date and staged growth of the school would ensure the availability of post-graduate clinical places for students.

�Research has shown that hospitals in eastern and southern suburbs will welcome medical students and this will be supported by placements in aged care and mental health facilities as well as general practice and newly-established clinical schools,� she said.

East Metropolitan MLC Alyssa Hayden said the university would be a massive boon for Midland and encourage local students to enter tertiary education closer to home.

�The establishment of a university in Midland will have a very positive effect and add vitality back into the region by way of infrastructure investment and employment,� she said