Echuca Regional Health still going strong at AGM

By Charmayne Allison

ECHUCA Regional Health held its annual general meeting recently, with the health service showing strong activity across the board.

This includes emergency department presentations at 22,829, births at 374 and an increase in staff to 817.

Acknowledgements were made to Dr BK Pillai who is retiring from ERH after 38 years, the Friends of Glanville Committee for their commitment to fundraising for the past 15 years and Dennis King who has retired as chair of the Seniors Advisory Group.

Staff were also acknowledged for 10, 20 and 30 years of service and those successful in receiving scholarships for 2020.

The guest speaker for the night was Professor Julian Wright, head of the department of rural health at The University of Melbourne.

Professor Wright highlighted to the audience of more than 100 that from 2022, undertaking a medical degree will be able to be done totally in northern Victoria.

He also told the audience as part of the Federal Government initiative to increase rural medical training across the Murray Darling Region, rural students will be given more opportunities than ever to study medicine.

In 2019, 15 rural students entered the three year Bachelor of Bioscience course at La Trobe University.

Students at Bendigo are guaranteed a position in the University of Melbourne four-year Doctor of Medicine degree to be run from Shepparton in 2022.

The course will also have another 15 rural students recruited into it who have undertaken an undergraduate degree.

The 2022 enrolment will have 30 rural students undertake their entire medical training at Shepparton, Wangaratta and Echuca.

Professor Wright highlighted the main focus is to select the students of a rural origin and interest to practice medicine rurally.

The interview process will figure more strongly in recruitment than the ATAR score. The minimum ATAR for the 2019 recruitment was 85.

Professor Wright encouraged the audience to help identify local students who would make great rural doctors to investigate the opportunities offered by the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University or Echuca Regional Health.