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Groundbreaking pathway partnership renewed

The Regional Medical Pathway program will continue into the future thanks to the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding between CQUniversity, The University of Queensland and the Central Queensland and Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services.
The Regional Medical Pathway program will continue into the future thanks to the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding between CQUniversity, The University of Queensland and the Central Queensland and Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services.

The Bundaberg Region will benefit from a renewed partnership between CQUniversity, The University of Queensland and the Central Queensland and Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services as they deliver the popular Regional Medical Pathway program.

The signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding between the four organisations will see the Australian-first university and hospital partnership continue for another five years.

First established in 2021, the pathway allows up to 60 students per year to complete their entire medical studies in regional Queensland.

It sees students complete a three-year Bachelor of Medical Science (Pathway to Medicine) course with CQUniversity, before moving into The University of Queensland's four-year MD program, with both education programs delivered locally in Bundaberg or Rockhampton.

As part of the partnership, the Hospital and Health Services in Central Queensland and Wide Bay will provide students with internship opportunities and postgraduate training places within their regional footprints.

The first intake of students entered the pathway in 2022 with aspiring doctors from across Australia relocating to Bundaberg and Rockhampton to commence CQUniversity’s Bachelor of Medical Science (Pathway to Medicine) degree.

This foundation cohort are set to complete their CQUniversity studies at the end of 2024 and will enter the full University of Queensland MD program in 2025.

The pathway is now in its third year and has attracted its highest ever intake of first year students, almost a third of whom are local to the Central Queensland and Wide Bay regions, highlighting that aspiring doctors no longer need to leave the regions to undertake medical studies.

CQUniversity Australia Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Nick Klomp said the re-signing of the Regional Medical Pathway Memorandum of Understanding was another important milestone in the delivery of this important education pathway.

“The success of the Regional Medical Pathway is obvious, with our first intake of students set to graduate and commence their formal MD studies in the region from next year,” he said.

“As they progress through their studies and become doctors, it will make a huge difference to health delivery in our region, something that will be the direct result of four parties coming together to address the critical issue of health workforce shortages in regional and remote areas.

“I’m thrilled to recommit to this partnership.”

The University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Deborah Terry AC said the Regional Medical Pathway would help to address the difficulties in attracting and retaining doctors in regional, remote and rural areas, with the program attracting students from both the local area and other regions of Australia.

“The aim of the program has always been to deliver positive, sustained improvement in the health outcomes of regional communities, particularly here in Queensland,” she said.

“UQ looks forward to continuing our work with CQUniversity and the Hospital and Health Services to nurture future health workforces in the regions and deliver a rich and fulfilling experience to medical students.”

Chief Executive Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services Debbie Carroll said the collaboration allowed delivery of an end-to-end medical education and training program for doctors, right here in Central Queensland and the Wide Bay.

“It has been specifically designed to secure long-term, locally trained workforces for the regions,” she said.

“To date we have seen the program deliver greater accessibility for regionally based students to study medicine locally and we have also seen students from metropolitan areas relocate to the regions.”

Lifechanging experience for Pathway to Medicine student

For Varun Lad, a Bundaberg-based third year student in the CQUniversity Bachelor of Medical Science (Pathway to Medicine), being among the foundation cohort of students has been a lifechanging experience for him.

“I relocated to Bundaberg from Sydney to study in the program and haven't looked back since,” he said.

“It's been an enriching experience to be part of the Wide Bay community.

“The program has given me a valuable head start when it comes to my future career in medicine and I have been offered learning opportunities that have helped me understand medicine holistically.

“The observational placements as part of my medical science degree have been amazing.

“The academic staff are supportive, I have already established local professional networks and I have also made lifelong friends with my peers.

“Studying via the Regional Medical Pathway program has cemented my desire to stay in the regions once I graduate as doctor because the scope of practice is broad and very rewarding.”

For more information on the program please visit the Regional Medical Pathway website.
 
More information about the CQUniversity Bachelor of Medical Science (Pathway to Medicine) course is available here.

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