Through our national footprint, universities already undertake work to support greater distribution of all health professionals to rural areas. This includes a number of regionally located universities and the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) 1 program’s network of 19 Rural Clinical Schools (RCSs), 16 University Departments of Rural Health (UDRHs) and 26 Regional Training Hubs (RTHs). The network is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and is managed by 21 mostly urban-based universities. Both play a substantial combined role in supporting health workforce growth and distribution to rural Australia.
Universities Australia (UA) is the peak national body representing Australia’s 39 comprehensive universities. UA’s submission to this consultation is from a whole of university sector perspective and has been developed in consultation with UA’s Health Professions Education Standing Group (HPESG). HPESG comprises senior leaders across all university health professional disciplines and jurisdictions. This includes representation from the Australian Council of Deans of Health Sciences (ACDHS), which acts as an umbrella body for university allied health education courses. UA refers the National Rural Health Commissioner to the ACDHS submission for more detailed allied health information and to individual university submissions for examples of education pathways that support effective workforce distribution.
UA welcomes the opportunity to respond to this consultation and to continue to work with the National Rural Health Commissioner to support closer policy development between higher education and health in this important area.