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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 10 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 3208..


Question so resolved in the negative.

Tertiary health education

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (12.08): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes:

(a) the importance to the ACT community of investing in health education to meet the increasing demand for medical professionals; and

(b) the need for a sustainable health workforce; and

(2) recognises the Stanhope Labor Government's continued commitment to investing in tertiary health education.

Mr Speaker, Australia is facing a chronic shortage of medical professionals across all sectors of the medical industry. Students are turning away from studying medicine due to exorbitant fees. Urgent action needs to be taken to address this problem and ensure that the demand for health professionals in the ACT and Australia can be met. Sadly, the commonwealth government is not taking the necessary measures to make tertiary education more affordable and to increase university places and, in particular, HECS places for our doctors and nurses of the future. The ultimate responsibility for this issue lies with the commonwealth. However, Mr Speaker, the Stanhope Labor government is doing what it can in this area, as evidenced by the significant investments that have been made in health education in the ACT over the past several years.

The Stanhope Labor government's investments have spanned both the tertiary and vocational training and education sectors and have encompassed the full spectrum of health professions. ACT Health has established preceptor positions in both radiation oncology and pharmacy. Preceptors work closely with students and existing staff to plan the orientation, clinical practice and learning experiences, monitor progress and provide feedback on student performance. These positions optimise the learning experience for students on placement and play a valuable role in counting professional development with staff.

In an effort to make smoother the transition between undergraduate and postgraduate studies, the medical appointments and training unit has also recently been established. This unit will foster the linkage of undergraduate and postgraduate medical education and training through the appointment of an associate dean of postgraduate medical studies. ACT Health also provides postgraduate education programs for nurses and midwives in critical care and neonatal intensive care in conjunction with the University of Canberra. The ACT government has established 11 dedicated education units to provide a structured learning environment in a partnership between ACT Health and the University of Canberra for undergraduate nursing and midwifery education and support. A dedicated education liaison nurse is assigned for each unit and this nurse supports and supervises students in the workplace.


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