NSW’s first full undergraduate medical degree in a regional centre will be offered in Port Macquarie next year, the President and Vice-Chancellor of UNSW Ian Jacobs announced today.

“UNSW has remained committed to offering a full six-year undergraduate degree in Port Macquarie and I am delighted to announce the program will be open to first-year medical students for 2017,” Professor Jacobs said. 

Developing a full undergraduate medical degree was a key component of a collaborative project announced in 2011 between UNSW, the University of Newcastle and North Coast Institute of TAFE. The project secured $20 million in federal funding for a purpose-built facility, the Port Macquarie Shared Health Research and Education Campus (SHREC).

UNSW is a leader in rural medicine, and has been since the launch of our Rural Clinical School in 2000.

UNSW currently provides medical education for four years of a medical degree – Years 3 to 6 – through its Rural Clinical School campuses in Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Albury, Griffith and Wagga Wagga.

“UNSW is a leader in rural medicine, and has been since the launch of our Rural Clinical School in 2000,” Professor Jacobs said. “Retaining doctors in regional areas is a national priority. UNSW has had a long association with Port Macquarie and it is a partnership we value very highly.”

Dean of UNSW Medicine Professor Rodney Phillips said the Faculty had undertaken an assessment of the new facility and what needed to be in place to offer the full six-year program.

“There are logistical issues still being discussed with our partners and other stakeholders, as some circumstances have changed since the project was first announced, but we are now satisfied that the program is ready for 2017,” he said. 

“Our Port Macquarie Rural Campus has done an excellent job in training the next generation of rural and Indigenous doctors many of whom will go on to practise in rural and regional areas.

“Expanding our offering from four years to a full six-year undergraduate program builds on this success and we will continue to work with our partners and the community as we finalise our plans for 2017.”