More uni places for SA medical students

Thursday, 16 February 2006

Up to thirty extra South Australian students will be studying medicine in this state every year through a joint campaign between the State Government, and the University of Adelaide and Flinders University.

In a major breakthrough, the Government has joined forces with the universities to increase the number of South Australians studying medicine - and tackle the shortage of doctors in South Australia.

And Health Minister John Hill will also call for the Federal Government to come to the party and provide 46 new university places in SA.

Minister Hill said the groundbreaking partnership between the State Government and the universities was a concerted effort to increase the number of doctors staying in SA.

"This is a fantastic step forward for this state," he said.

"This is an important part of our strategy - in partnerships with our universities - to deal with the doctor shortage in SA for ever."

Professor James McWha, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Adelaide, is excited by the opportunity offered by this funding to train local students who will be the basis of the future medical workforce.

"The University of Adelaide is very keen to be actively involved in providing solutions to the medical workforce problems confronting our state," he said.

Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Anne Edwards welcomed the Premier and State Government's strong support for more medical places in SA universities.

"The provision of these extra places is an excellent example of the Government and the universities working closely together to help solve a major state and national problem," she said.

Through the strategy:

  • The State Government will annually fund 10 new medical places - five at Adelaide University and five at Flinders University - especially for South Australian students who will work in areas of need in country SA and in the north and south of Adelaide. This will cost $4.2 million.
  • the University of Adelaide will target 20 places in its medical school for "tertiary transfers" that are dedicated to SA students studying other courses at the University. This year they will start with 10 places, rising to 20 per year next year.

Meanwhile, Minister Hill has also written to Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott calling for 46 new places in medicine in SA universities to be created by the Commonwealth.

At COAG last week it was agreed that the number of full-fee paying positions in medicine at Australian universities would be increased by 25%.

But the State Government wants more places for students paying HECS. COAG has agreed to consider at its next meeting in June 2006 the number of additional HECS places required to address workforce shortages.

"It is just critical that we get these HECS funded places," Minister Hill said.

"The Productivity Commission has reported that the Federal Government had invested in health-related higher education which would translate to 30 per cent extra medical places by 2009.

"Unfortunately none of these places have so far been allocated to South Australia.

"There are currently 155 HECS funded places for medicine in SA - a 30% increase would represent a badly needed additional 46 places.

"I would urge the Commonwealth to help us get more doctors into our hospitals and more GPs into our communities - particularly in regional SA."

This media release is also available on the State Government's website.


Contact Details

Media Team
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0814

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762