GRIFFITH is on the brink of becoming a significant medical hub after another prestigious university announced it would establish a training school in the city.
The University of NSW (UNSW) Rural Clinical School is one of a raft of new medical facilities earmarked for the city and will operate in addition to a University of Wollongong training centre at the Griffith Community Private Hospital.
A new medical centre is also slated for Binya Street, while a new dental lounge and a state-of-the-art medical imaging centre have recently opened in the CBD.
The influx of services is a reversal of fortunes for Griffith after many years of locals being forced to travel out of town to access essential medical care.
UNSW has purchased a house near Griffith Base Hospital (GBH) for the training school, where six fourth-year medical students will start training in March.
The students will spend a full year studying and gaining practical experience at the hospital and local clinics.
Students from Wagga’s UNSW training school started visiting Griffith regularly early this year and campus head Dr John Preddy believed they would benefit significantly from a long-term placement.
“We know if students are in the country for a longer period of time they are more likely to look favourably on moving to rural and regional Australia to work,” Dr Preddy said.
"Griffith’s medical community and the broader community have been very supportive and I think the students will have a fantastic experience. In fact, I think the problem will be getting them to move on to somewhere else afterwards.”
GBH executive medical director Dr Damien Limberger will lead the school with support from Dr Preddy.
Some of the city’s most senior doctors have already committed to assisting with training and the federal government has contributed funding to help the university purchase homes for the students to live in.
Riverina MP Michael McCormack said training placements were an important step for improved medical facilities in the city.
“The good thing about having training facilities is that you get doctors in at a young age when they’re forming relationships and are keen to have a look around and see the big wide world,” Mr McCormack said.
“Often they’ll come back to work here or they’ll meet someone local that they might decide to spend their life with, and they’ll stay in the area.
“Just about every piece of medical literature you read tells you a lot of people end up back where they did their training.”
Work will start immediately on preparing the interior of the clinic in anticipation of the students’ arrival.
Griffith mayor John Dal Broi said the establishment of a medical hub in the city would mean less travel and stress for residents and would give the economy a much-needed boost.