Today’s (Wed, June 11) visit by Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss marks an important milestone in the expansion of allied and oral health services and education in the Rockhampton region.
Mr Truss will be joined by Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry to conduct a sod-turning ceremony for the $14 million Stage 2 of the CQUniversity Health Clinic on Rockhampton Campus.
This Stage 2 expansion will not only create more facilities for treatment and rehabilitation of patients who are coordinated by Central Queensland Hospital and Health Services. It will also open up more opportunities for professional placement of nursing, allied and oral health students, including those drawn from the soon-to-be comprehensive CQUniversity (following its merger with CQ TAFE from July 1).
CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman said students who gained professional experience in the expanded Health Clinic precinct would be more likely to seek work in rural and regional communities after graduation, helping to alleviate workforce shortages.
Professor Bowman said the Clinic’s treatment of patients with chronic or complex illness would help them stay well and out of hospital.
The $14 million Stage 2 Health Clinic project is entirely funded from the $73.8 million Commonwealth Government ‘SAF/EIF’ funding associated with the merger between CQUniversity and CQ TAFE.
Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss said: “Stage Two of the clinic will involve two components. A $6.5 million expansion of clinical consultation space on the site of the Stage One clinic is for disciplines including dental, podiatry and speech pathology. This expansion and will double the size of the existing clinic. A further $7.5 million will refurbish existing teaching space elsewhere on campus into Allied Health teaching labs.
“The Clinic Stage Two project will be an important extension of the work already performed in Stage One of the clinic, and will further assist CQUniversity to train students with a regional focus to their studies and better prepare graduates for careers in regional parts of the state.”
Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry MP welcomed the Commonwealth’s investment in critical allied health training and service delivery infrastructure.
“This is a great example of the Commonwealth working with CQUniversity and Queensland Health to not only broaden health services in the region, but to better train the next generation of Allied Health professionals.
“The first Stage of this teaching-clinic has been an outstanding success and an important health asset for the region, and I look forward to the completion of Stage 2 and seeing the first clients and students utilise the new facility,” Ms Landry said.
Stage 1 of the Clinic, operational since 2012, was a $12 million project funded by the Commonwealth Government (including about $9 million of Health Workforce Australia funding) and CQUniversity.
The clinic is run in partnership with Central Queensland Hospital and Health Services and delivers allied and oral health services which match CQUniversity’s health degree offerings – physiotherapy, podiatry, speech pathology, oral health, social work, occupational therapy, and nursing (with over 10 clinical professions represented within the facility). This is a working, teaching tertiary clinic which caters for up to 15,000 service occasions per year, while hosting around 120 students who work/learn alongside Queensland Health professionals.
Health education will be a key focus of the new comprehensive university following July 1.
CQUniversity is set to offer nearly 40 programs relating to health andwellbeing, from Certificate to Master, across Central Queensland and by distance education.
Increased multi-disciplinary pathways for students will also allow the region’s aspiring health practitioners to take full advantage of CQUniversity’s industry partnerships, with more opportunities for practical experience and placements within their chosen sector.
Ms Landry added that today’s occasion is made even more special by the fact that we have the Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss with us.
“Warren is always a welcome visitor to Rockhampton and the fact that he is here in his capacity as the Acting Prime Minister of Australia, is testament to just how important the Coalition views Capricornia,” she said.
“In my role as the Federal Member, I am a great and proud advocate of CQUniversity. This is our local university with centres across the globe.
“With an ageing population, health is one if our key issues of the future.
“$14 million of Federal money is being spent here on stage two of this already impressive health clinic and teaching facility.
“This facility is important to North Rockhampton and we know that already the building beside it already sees up to 160 patients a day.
“With a shortage of allied health professionals in regional Australia, the facility will also serve as a vital training clinic for university students studying various courses from speech therapy to occupational therapy.
“We should be proud that such expert graduates will come from our own backyard.”