- Thursday 27 April 2017
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson has cautiously welcomed the Commonwealth Government’s announcement today that could lead to the establishment of the long-promised medical school at the Sunshine Coast Health Institute as part of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
While Mayor Jamieson has received no confirmation or advice from the Federal Members for Fairfax and Fisher, he noted that the Assistant Health Minister David Gillespie and Federal Members Andrew Wallace and Ted O’Brien announced today that the Commonwealth would collaboratively support 50 students to facilitate the establishment of a full medical school on the Sunshine Coast.
What is not clear however, is whether the additional 15 medical training places required each year are fully funded Commonwealth places or whether Griffith University is achieving the 50 places through other means.
“While I am delighted that there is a possibility that the Sunshine Coast may achieve a full medical school, there remain a number of questions that are yet to be answered for our community,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“First and foremost is whether the additional places are fully Commonwealth-funded medical school places for local students or whether they are only available to full fee paying students, such as international students.
“What also remains unanswered is that if they are fully funded medical school places, then from where have they been allocated?
“And given Mr O’Brien and Mr Wallace acknowledge the national review is not yet completed, how is it that places could be allocated to the Sunshine Coast in advance – when we were being told earlier this year that nothing could be confirmed until the review was complete?
“The Sunshine Coast was promised a tertiary teaching hospital as part of the University Hospital development and all that I – and our community - have ever wanted is confirmation that the region will receive what it was promised.
“Today’s announcement is a long time coming – some three years since it was identified as a condition to securing the new medical school partner for the Sunshine Coast Health Institute.
“What this community needs to know however, is on what basis the places were allocated and whether they will be available to Sunshine Coast students.”
Mayor Jamieson acknowledged that the timing of the start of the new medical school would depend on the medical school partner’s internal governance processes and the need to obtain medical school accreditation from the Australian Medical Council.
“Ideally the medical school should have commenced in the same year that the hospital opened,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“I would encourage Griffith University to move heaven and earth to ensure it is well-placed to open the medical school at the start of the 2019 university year.”