GRIFFITH'S latest state-of-the-art medical teaching facility was officially opened on Wednesday as part of a bid to attract young doctors to the bush.
Assistant Minister for Health Senator Fiona Nash cut the ribbon after tipping in close to $700,000 to support the University of New South Wales (UNSW) purchase of the doctor's surgery opposite Griffith Base Hospital and turn it into a first-class medical classroom.
The UNSW rural clinical school campus in Griffith has already seen off it's first six 12-month placement students and thanks to the upgrade, can now boost it's four-week placement program from four to 25 students per year.
Fourth year medicine student Rebekah Beattie, from Murrumbateman, has been exposed to experiences she claimed graduate doctors would envy.
"I've been here since the start of March and in that time I have been doing maternity, palliative care, emergency and surgery rotations at the hospital.
"The opportunities we get here are nothing like what we would get in the city, even interns and residents would be fighting to scrub in for surgeries and the sort of one on one training that we have.
"Griffith was my ninth preference out of nine but I am really glad I came here, it's been much better than I had feared."
Senator Nash praised UNSW for helping future doctors to see the benefits of living and working in rural towns.
"We know there is a significant maldistribution of doctors favouring the city over regional Australia but we also know a training experience in a regional setting means doctors are far more likely to go on to work in the country," Senator Nash said.
"We are heading towards having enough doctors, but there are just not enough in the country, especially GPs."
Senator Nash maintained the government was increasing health spending despite slashing federal funding of public hospitals by $800 million over the next three years and more than $1 billion in 2017-18, as well as depriving the states of $80 billion in health and education funding throughout the next decade.
"The government is actually increasing funding for public hospitals over the next four years, from around $14 billion this year to $18.9b by 2018," Senator Nash said.