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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Clock runs out for Commonwealth intervention in Sunshine Coast med school

    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

    Clock runs out for Commonwealth intervention in Sunshine Coast med school

    The Turnbull Government has again failed to deliver the 15 medical school places needed to ensure a world class medical school can open on the Sunshine Coast in 2019.

    Health and Ambulance Services Minister Cameron Dick said yesterday’s deadline came and went despite the Commonwealth being warned last year that the school would not open in 2019 without confirmation of the places by February 15, 2017.

    “Along with the Sunshine Coast community and the Sunshine Coast Regional Council, I am disappointed the Commonwealth has again failed to act. I’m angry that it now seems we’re looking at yet another year of missed opportunity to train future Sunshine Coast doctors," the Minister said.

    “We know there is a shortage of GPs and specialists in regional areas like the Sunshine Coast. We also know that one of the best ways to fix that problem is to train our future doctors on the Sunshine Coast where they will develop strong ties with the local community and choose to establish their career there.

    “I’ve consistently tried to make this decision easy for the Commonwealth. I’ve even offered to fund half of the additional 15 places and guaranteed all students a place on the Queensland Intern Program.

    “Despite agreeing the places were needed, the Commonwealth has spent 16 months handballing the issue from Minister to Minister and now they’ve tangled up any hope of delivering the places around the outcome of a national review.   

    “We’re only talking about another 15 places – that’s a long way short of the 60 places Tony Abbott made a snap decision to grant Perth’s Curtin University 60 medical school places back in 2015.

    “We now face a situation where the new $1.8B Sunshine Coast University Hospital opens its doors next month as the only Australian tertiary hospital without a medical school.”

    Minister Dick said the outcome may have been a lot different if the State and Federal LNP members on the Sunshine Coast had backed the medical school.

    “The LNP continues to take the Sunshine Coast for granted. The medical school is crucial to the future of healthcare in the region, yet these members choose to follow their party line instead of backing their local community," he said.

    “The Sunshine Coast University Hospital is not only a world-class hospital, it is a crucial economic base for the region’s future.

    “Healthcare is going to be one of the leading employment sectors this century and the Sunshine Coast needs to play a role in training our next generation of medical and healthcare professionals."

    ENDS

    Media contact: Michelle Wellington 0437 323 834