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New schools boost medical training

Notre Dame University will be part of Australia's largest single expansion of university medical training, following yesterday's official announcement that the Australian Medical Council (AMC) has accredited three medical schools.

From next year, Bond University will run Australia's first private medical school, offering 65 places to undergraduates. Griffith University on the Gold Coast and the Catholic Notre Dame in Fremantle will each offer 80 graduate places - meaning an extra 225 doctors graduating per year by 2010.

The Government will provide HECS-funded places at Griffith and Notre Dame. This will equate to fees of $24,000 a year at Notre Dame.

AMC president Joanna Flynn said only two new medical schools had been established in the past 25 years.

She said the accreditation process reflected a change in medical education - with a greater focus on student-directed learning, increased breadth of clinical experience beginning from the first year, and more emphasis on communication skills.

Australian Medical Association president Bill Glasson said the extra places would be significant in the longer term in helping address shortages.

He said the schools need to ensure students received experience in rural and remote areas to encourage more graduates into country practices, which had the most acute problems attracting doctors.

The West Australian reports today that the AMC did express concerns about possible religious bias at Notre Dame, including inadequacies in the way doctors will be taught about ethical issues such as homosexuality, abortion and contraception.

But on a list of strengths, the AMC endorsed a commitment to provide a solid grounding in medical ethics and a partnership with Curtin University, which will provide facilities for the biomedical training. It also praises the financial support for the project - which stands at $15 million so far.

Head of the new school, Professor Adrian Bower, who helped established two medical schools in Queensland, said any doctor who tried to push their views on a patient would be behaving unethically. The theology course had been tailored for students to learn about questions of humanity, spirituality and a range of different faiths.

"These are really important things that never usually get a guernsey in a medical course," he said. "I am totally convinced that the Catholic nature of the university will only enhance the educational experience, not restrict it." Religion had not formed part of the selection criteria for students, including 30 who will pay full fees and 50 who will take up HECS places. More than half the successful applicants are from interstate and hold previous degrees in law, engineering, biomedical sciences or humanities.

New schools boost medical training (The Australian 30/11/04)
Catholic medical school bias concerns (The West Australian 30/11/04)

Private uni's medical school a first (The Australian 30/11/04)
Dinner Auction raises funds for Notre Dame's new Medical School (University of Notre Dame Australia 26/11/04)
Notre Dame's Vice Chancellor speaks at Fremantle 2020 Conference (University of Notre Dame Australia 29/11/04)
Foundation program established for The University of Notre Dame Australia and Stella Maris College, NSW (University of Notre Dame Australia 29/11/04)
Demand builds for Notre Dame (CathNews 27/10/04)
Changing heritage status of inner Sydney church (CathNews 25/8/04)
St Vincent's doctors say Notre Dame link will require consultation (CathNews 19/8/04)
Notre Dame welcomes support for Sydney Campus (CathNews 2/8/04)
Notre Dame becomes a 'public' University (CathNews 22/9/04)
Port pubs loss blamed on uni (The West Australian 17/11/04)
Demand builds for Notre Dame (The Australian 27/10/04)
God not dollars - Keating (Online Catholics 20/10/04)
The University of Notre Dame Australia's Proposed Health Campus in Darlinghurst (University of Notre Dame Australia 15/10/04)
Uni backs down in unholy row (The Sun-Herald 17/10/04)
There's nothing like a Dame (Online Catholics 22/9/04)
Darlo church under threat (Sydney Morning Herald 25/8/04)
Pell under fire from canon law (The Australian 25/8/04)
Doctors want Second Opinion on Notre Dame (Online Catholics 19/8/04)
Canon Law may frustrate Notre Dame move (Online Catholics 11/8/04)
Cardinal Pell visits Notre Dame (University of Notre Dame Australia 6/8/04)
Pell, Howard, buy a university (Online Catholics 4/8/04 - subscribers only)
Pell's conservatism adds fuel to the fire of Catholic disharmony (Sydney Morning Herald 3/8/04)
Notre Dame welcomes Federal support for Sydney campus (CathNews 2/8/04)
Cardinal George Pell: Response to the Prime Minister's Announcement of Federal Government Support for a Sydney Campus of the University of Notre Dame Australia (Archdiocese of Sydney 1/8/04)
Howard slammed for campus handout (AAP/Financial Review 2/8/04)

30 Nov 2004