Bridging the urban-rural divide in nursing, midwifery and allied health training will be one of the important outcomes of the new Southern Queensland Rural Health clinical training facility opened in Charleville on Thursday.
Attending the opening ceremony, Maranoa MP David Littleproud said it would bring modern, best practice training to the region, and would provide significant long-term health care support to the Charleville community and wider region.
"This investment will not only be an economic boost for Charleville but will be the catalyst for training the next generation of medical professionals for regional Australia," he said.
"An investment like this is not just bricks and mortar, it also provides a base for various health stakeholders to collaborate and deliver diverse learning opportunities for health students.
"This training site helps to bridge the urban-rural divide, paving the way for students from urban Australia to take this opportunity, challenge themselves and get involved with health in the bush."
He said the Morrison government was committed to building the rural health workforce and particularly given the impact of COVID-19, they were focused on the need for resilient and sustainable health teams.
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The new facility boasts a fully equipped clinical simulation lab, telehealth studios, clinical consultation rooms as well as videoconferencing equipped training rooms, meeting rooms, staff offices and an outdoor education area.
According to Regional Health Minister Mark Coulton, the opening represented a major milestone in the development of the future rural health workforce in south west Queensland.
"By building great facilities in rural settings like Charleville, we are helping deliver high quality clinical training opportunities for nurses and allied health professionals, right here in the south west," he said.
"We know by growing the ranks of rurally-trained health professionals, we are ensuring a more stable and viable rural workforce in the future.
"The more we can provide quality training opportunities in the bush, the better chance we have of getting quality health professionals to consider it as a career destination of choice.
"That's why the federal government has invested $2.5 million in this facility through the Rural Health multi-disciplinary training program."
He congratulated the work of Southern Queensland Rural Health for increasing student training opportunities in the remote south west.
SQRH engages with the South West Hospital and Health Service; the Royal Flying Doctor Service Charleville; Charleville and Western Areas Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health; Cunnamulla Aboriginal Corporation for Health; and other community stakeholders to increase the number of students able to access rural and remote health experiences.