Local health gets $1.85m funding

OUT of the blue, Doctor David Amies has taken delivery of a $1.85m cheque that will transform his life and the future of local health.

The head of campus at the UNSW Rural Clinical School Coffs Harbour will oversee the significant expansion of the facility that will result in double the number of medical students training and ideally staying in the region after they graduate.

The massive windfall was one of just 22 Federally-funded projects named under the Rural Education Infrastructure Development Pool.

“I’m very excited, the school owns the land, this is like buying five houses worth of extensions,” said Dr Amies (pictured right).

“Our campus will be bigger, better and more comfortable.”

The news came without warning so formal plans for the grant are still a work in progress but it’s believed enhancements will include a larger skills lab that resembles a four-bed ward, anatomy demonstration room and a suite of rooms for a medical clinic.

A facility to accommodate the research team headed by Dr Gillian Gould is also on the cards.

“I’m inviting everyone who has something to do with the place to put in their two cents worth,” Dr Amies said.

“This is an exciting development and really all ideas are up for grabs. It’s just a question of letting us all settle down and find out what is possible.”

Student enrolments have steadily risen since the campus opened in 2005 and with the expansion of the facility, the number is expected to peak at 60 students within two years significantly increasing local job opportunities for support staff.

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