6 December 2001

Dr Thein Htut, newly appointed Regional Head of The University of Queensland’s Rural Clinical Division, today welcomed the establishment of first-class medical student training in South-West Queensland as a significant step towards attracting more doctors to rural and regional areas.

“By providing quality training locally for University of Queensland medical students, we can hope to see increased recruitment of GPs and specialists to our local communities,” Dr Htut said.

Most recently serving as Acting Director of Medicine at Toowoomba Hospital, Dr Htut has been appointed by The University of Queensland to head up its new Rural Clinical Division’s SWQ regional base. A second major regional base will operate from Rockhampton.

For the past 10 years, Dr Htut has been actively involved in medical education via associations with UQ, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Australian Medical Council.

Dr Htut said he now looks forward to strengthening such partnerships through the provision of non-metropolitan training within the UQ Medical School program.

“The Rural Clinical Division of the UQ School of Medicine will bring medical student training to regional, rural and remote South-West Queensland—the long-term benefits of which will include increased recruitment of GPs and specialists to these areas,” Dr Htut said.

“Although the SWQ administrative centre will be based in Toowoomba, many students will be taught in the rural and remote hinterland.

“The quality of the teaching will be first-rate and the variety of cases and experiences brought to the students by rural practitioners will ensure that, on qualification, these students will be well-trained and competent.”

Dr Htut will be supported by Dr Jeff Thomsett, a senior general practitioner with extensive experience in rural GP training, who has been appointed SWQ region’s Clinical Warden.

Head of UQ’s School of Medicine Professor Ken Donald said the appointment of two practitioners as highly regarded and committed to rural education as Dr Htut and Dr Thomsett augured well for the future of the Rural Clinical Division.

“Both doctors have a wide knowledge of rural issues and a strong belief in the value of high-quality medical training offered within regional and rural settings,” Professor Donald said.

“Experience has shown that students who spend the whole or most of their last two years of training in properly supported rural practices can learn in some ways better than students based in the city. I am confident this will prove the case within the SWQ region.”

For further information, please contact Carrie Schofield (telephone 07 3346 4713) or Dr Thien Htut (telephone 07 4631 6211).