The Northern Territory’s critical undersupply of medical practitioners will continue unless the CDU Menzies School of Medicine is awarded Commonwealth Supported medical places.
The CDU Menzies School of Medicine has applied for 40 out of 80 places on offer from the Commonwealth government in the Increasing Rural Medical Training Grant Opportunity, which opened for applications in June.
The grant aims to increase rural university medical school training to encourage more medical students to practice in regional, rural, and remote areas of Australia.
It is the first time the CDU Menzies School of Medicine has applied for these places.
CDU Menzies School of Medicine Foundation Dean Professor Dianne Stephens OAM said receiving the places would be key to breaking the cycle of the Northern Territory’s historic undersupply of medical practitioners.
“The NT needs its own medical school to graduate and retain more doctors in the NT to serve the urban, rural, and remote NT community,” Professor Stephens said.
“The NT only has 22 medical graduates to fill 65 vacant internship positions every year and in General Practice training the number of new trainees in the NT has reduced from 60 in 2016, to less than 15 in 2023.
“The NT relies heavily on importing junior doctors from other jurisdictions and overseas with most leaving after one to three years.
“The CDU Menzies School of Medicine proposal is for a locally based undergraduate medical program designed and delivered by Territorians for Territorians with the capacity to focus solely on the NT medical workforce needs.”
Menzies School of Health Research Director Professor Alan Cass AO said Menzies’ involvement in the partnership would support the CDU Menzies School of Medicine's focus on research and innovation.
“Menzies welcomes the opportunity to be involved in an NT-led medical school which draws on our researchers’ experience as experts in their field and supports pathways into health for young Territorians,” Professor Cass said.
“Our research looks at how to support health service delivery across the Territory and translate world-class expertise into real world impacts, and the school will further enhance this goal.”
In coming weeks, the CDU Menzies School of Medicine will raise awareness of the challenges of the NT’s health landscape, the solutions and why the Commonwealth Supported medical places are needed.
“The NT is the most rural and remote jurisdiction, has the greatest need for doctors in the country and is the only jurisdiction with no Commonwealth Supported medical places,” Professor Stephens said.
“Surely this is a compelling reason for CDU to be allocated 40 of the current Commonwealth offering of 80 new medical places.”