ORANGE City Council has backed a plan to create an expert community committee to lobby the government to establish a medical school at Charles Sturt Unversity (CSU).
The creation of a CSU medical school has long been on the agenda, however, it is hoped the introduction of a community committee would increase the project’s chances of receiving funding.
Australian Health Care Reform Alliance founder and medical consultant to CSU, Professor John Dwyer said Orange City Council supported the concept at a meeting this week.
Made up of doctors, health professionals, teachers, education experts, mayors and interested citizens, the group would lobby on behalf of the central west.
“We have been talking to the government for 18 months and they haven’t said yes and they haven’t said no,” Professor Dwyer said.
“It seems to me the outcome will swing on the outcome of community support.”
Professor Dwyer said showing the government there was strong community support for CSU’s medical school was vital.
He said evidence showed those who trained in the country stayed in the country, and the region deserved to have GPs who were comfortable working in rural areas and wanted to stay there.
“It depends on the rural community making it clear to the government that this situation is not good enough,” he said.
Professor Dwyer said the proposed committee would go beyond just talking and seek an appointment with the health minister.
Orange mayor John Davis supports the project and says a community committee would enhance CSU’s fight to get a medical school.
“It would help to make it a reality if we had community support, that would put more pressure and make it all the better,” he said.
Cr Davis said community support has worked in the past, using the radiotherapy unit at Orange Health Service as an example of the power of the people.
Councillor Reg Kidd said he would support the creation of a community committee to lobby for a medical school.
“Anything we can do as a rural community to encourage better medical facilities is more than a worthy cause,” he said.
“I think there’s a real strength in cooperating so yoy present a united voice to the government.”
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