Dental training – expanding rural placements

Dentistry students will be able to undertake clinical training in rural areas, as a way of encouraging more dentists to work in rural areas after graduation.

Page last updated: 08 May 2007

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Why is this important?

  • Currently there are limited rural training opportunities for dental students to undertake clinical training outside major metropolitan areas.
  • This new measure will support up to 30 annual clinical placements for dentistry students in established rural training settings. It builds on the success of other rural clinical training models, providing extended rural clinical training placements to metropolitan dental students. Graduate students are more likely to consider rural careers if they have had an opportunity to undertake clinical training in a regional or rural community setting.
  • There are currently only six Indigenous dentists practising in Australia. This measure also offers three scholarships for Indigenous dental students under the Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme.

Who will benefit?

  • Rural communities will benefit from more dentists practising and training in their regions.
  • Local employment opportunities will also be created through an $8.4 million capital infrastructure injection in new dental training facilities in the first two years of the measure. This includes teaching space at education centres, consulting rooms in private practices, clinical skills laboratories and student accommodation.
  • The number of Indigenous dentists and oral health specialists practising in Australia will rise. Indigenous communities will benefit from wider career options and the likelihood that some scholarship recipients will choose to practice in Indigenous communities.

What funding is the Government committing to the initiative?

  • The Government will provide $12.5 million in funding over four years.

What have we done in the past?

  • While rural dental training is a new area of Commonwealth Government funding, this measure builds on the Government’s investment in the national rural training network through the Rural Clinical Schools Program and the University Departments of Rural Health Program. This network will now be expanded to support extended rural placements in dentistry.

When will the initiative conclude?

  • This initiative is ongoing.

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