Prime Minister and Health Minister opens Blacktown/Mt Druitt Clinical School

Blacktown Clinical School

Prime Minister of Australia The Hon. Julia Gillard MP and Federal Minister for Health and Ageing, The Hon. Nicola Roxon MP officially opened the multi-million dollar University of Western Sydney Blacktown/Mt Druitt Clinical School today.

Based at Blacktown Hospital in Sydney's Greater West, the Blacktown/Mt Druitt Clinical School is one of the key training sites for the UWS School of Medicine.

UWS medical students use the Clinical School facilities and the adjacent Hospital to learn their clinical and diagnostic skills while being mentored by senior specialists, nurses and allied health professionals.

This partnership between UWS, NSW Health, Western Sydney Local Health District and the Australian Government has delivered a $20.6 million facility constructed at Blacktown Hospital.

The new three-storey facility comprises:

  • A research centre which has dedicated spaces for clinical trials, scientific research laboratories and community-based research.
  • An innovative multidisciplinary teaching clinic which provides a one-stop service for patients with gastrointestinal and pelvic floor disorders.
  • A Clinical School comprising medical library, tutorial rooms for clinical teaching, academic and support staff offices and overnight accommodation for students on-call.
  • A 161-seat lecture theatre for use by UWS and Blacktown/Mt Druitt Hospital staff.
  • Student common room facilities.
  • An internal courtyard.
  • A link way connecting the facility to the Hospital.

The Prime Minister and Minister for Health and Ageing toured the facility and met UWS medical, nursing and allied health students, Clinical School staff and patients.

Joining them were Michelle Rowland MP, Federal Member for Greenway; Ed Husic MP, Federal Member for Chifley; Chris Hayes, Federal Member for Fowler; Ray Williams MP, State Member for Hawkesbury representing NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner MP; Danny O'Connor, Chief Executive NSW Health Western Sydney Local Health District; and adjunct Associate Professor Dominic Dawson, General Manager of Blacktown/Mt Druitt Hospital

University has received outstanding support from all levels of Government, NSW Health and the local community to establish the School of Medicine and its Clinical Schools.

The UWS School of Medicine is not only helping to alleviate the shortage of doctors working in Greater Western Sydney, but it is also helping expand teaching, medical research and clinical leadership in the Greater Western Sydney region by drawing more professors and researchers to its hospitals and surrounding health services.

UWS medical students in the first two years of their degree spend a few hours each week at the Blacktown/Mt Druitt Clinical School developing their clinical skills such as interacting and communicating with patients, conducting examinations and making a diagnosis, and learning how to use medical technology.

In their third, fourth and fifth year many of the UWS MBBS students have fulltime clinical attachments at Blacktown/Mt Druitt Hospital developing their clinical and diagnostic skills in a wide variety of specialties.

The new building also houses an innovative multidisciplinary teaching and research clinic which provides a one-stop service for patients with gastrointestinal and pelvic floor disorders.

The clinic has the potential to directly improve the lives of 200,000 people in Western Sydney. It draws together medical, nursing, psychology and allied health specialists to provide the holistic care these patients with complex and chronic health problems.

The new clinic is also revolutionising healthcare training allowing UWS medical, nursing and allied health students, such as those studying physiotherapy and psychology, to train together, in preparation for their future careers working together. Students from one health discipline are placed with a professional from another in one shared clinical setting to help build an appreciation and understanding of other health professions.

The first cohort of medical students from the UWS School of Medicine will graduate in December this year. Around 60 per cent of UWS medical students are from Greater Western Sydney.

The Australian Government has contributed Commonwealth-supported medical places as well as major capital development funding for infrastructure.

The NSW Government has supported the establishment of the Clinical School by providing the land, supporting clinical training placements, and funding for four clinical Professor appointments and research Fellows.


19 October 2011

Contact: Paul Grocott, Senior Media Officer