Chester slams Monash

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has said Monash School of Rural Health's entry policy is limiting students who wish to pursue their medical studies in Gippsland. photograph heidi kraak

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has said Monash School of Rural Health's entry policy is limiting students who wish to pursue their medical studies in Gippsland. photograph heidi kraak

Monash University's policy to only admit its own graduates to its Churchill medical school is limiting opportunities for students wanting to complete their medical studies in Gippsland, Gippsland MP Darren Chester says.

"We know that young people who come from a regional area or who train in a regional area are more likely to practice medicine or other allied health professions in a regional area," Mr Chester said.

"So it is about training our own workforce as much as possible and I've been trying to work with Monash University to try and find a pathway for more Gippsland kids to study medicine here in our region.

"It hasn't happened and I am urging them to get fair dinkum about Gippsland."

Mr Chester raised the issue in Parliament recently and said there is "huge growth" in the health care sector across Gippsland.

"With an ageing population, obviously, there is demand for doctors, allied health professionals and we need to train as many of our local kids as we can in the health fields," he said.

"There are young people who have contacted me at my office who have an ambition to involved in health fields who want to be doing all of their study here in Gippsland and by the current model by Monash University that is not possible."

Mr Chester said Monash should be working with other universities, including Federation University, to find "other pathways for Gippsland students so they don't have to leave home if they don't want to".

"There is no doubt that providing opportunity for young people to study in their home towns and home communities is good for the local economy and also good for their study outcomes," he said. A Monash University spokeswoman said the university's position had not changed since it provided formal advice of the policy change in 2016.

"Monash's move to the Monash Biomedical Science (MBS) specific entry pathway for the Monash Graduate MD program updated our testing model to offer a more focused and enriched pathway for rural student entry into the Monash Medical Degree," she said.

"Monash has recently substantially increased the chances of Gippsland students gaining a place into a Monash medical course.

"In the past, entry to Monash Graduate MD program, as with every other graduate MD program in Australia, required a high score on what is essentially an aptitude test that examines and ranks students' analytical and problem solving skills."

The spokeswoman said Monash Rural Health sites in and around Gippsland were "important community institutions that have locals proving services to the locals".

"Monash is [a] committed member of the community and has no intention of changing this."

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