Health training gets boost

A $900,000 teaching and learning centre will be established at St Vincent's Private Hospital in Lismore after the Federal Government agreed to fund the state-of-the-art complex.

Although the hospital's chief executive Bob Walsh did not know how many students would use the new facilities, and if an existing building would be used or a new one built, he said the centre would have study/reading rooms, conference rooms, video conferencing, integrated work stations, offices, tutorial rooms and a library.

“It's very difficult at this stage to say what the number would be, but next year we will have students from Notre Dame University in Sydney here, and students from Southern Cross University and Ballina TAFE,” he said.

Mr Walsh said the centre wouldallow the private hospital to increase its number of trainees and undergraduates, and enable accredited medical staff to gain their annual college professional requirements through video conferencing.

He also hopes that students who are trained in the area will remain once they complete their courses. “If we can get doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to train here, many will stay. We know that the greatest magnet of attracting health staff is for them to train in the area,” Mr Walsh said.

Work on the centre is expected to be completed by the end of next year, with training slated to start in the first semester of 2012.

Federal Page MP Janelle Saffin congratulated the hospital for taking the lead on the project that would ‘further enhance Lismore's reputation as an innovative university city'.

“I also recognise the hospital's key partners – Ballina TAFE, Southern Cross University, the Northern Rivers General Practice Network and the Northern Rivers University Department of Rural Health,” she said.

The $884,414 funding, which comes from the Federal Government's Clinical Teaching and Training Grants, was part of the Councilof Australian Government's commitment to investing in health workforce infrastructure, Ms Saffin said.

The program is providing $90 million over four years for capital works projects that support health students and trainees.

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