NT News

Hospital emergency beds closed

- THOMAS MORGAN

NT HEALTH has closed a third of the beds at Palmerston Regional Hospital’s Emergency Department amid a staffing crisis engulfing the Top End’s hospital system.

The government admitted on Thursday afternoon that eight of Palmerston’s 24 emergency beds would need to be shut because of a lack of nurses available.

The revelation came at the same time NT Health announced the Code Yellow declared at Royal Darwin Hospital on Wednesday had been revoked.

CHARLES Darwin University will on Friday announce its ambition to establish a fully fledged medical school within 18 months.

The Top End-based university Vice-Chancellor Scott Bowman, in a speech at Flinders University, will say CDU wants its first intake of medical students in 2023. Currently CDU offers a medicine course through a partnershi­p with Flinders University.

CDU, which has already applied with the federal government for 40 medical places, would then aim to be fully autonomous within five to 10 years, including a Dean of Medicine in Darwin.

“We need more, many more doctors graduating in the NT,” Mr Bowman will say. “We need many more First Nations People graduating as doctors.

“It is quite strange and remarkable that the NT which is six times the size of the UK and has unique and pressing medical challenges does not have its own local medical school.”

Mr Bowman will say the new autonomous medical school would be of the “highest possible standards”, with a presence in both Darwin and Alice Springs.

Already, CDU has appointed a Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Medicine and Health Developmen­t — Emeritus Professor Ian Wronski AO — and is working with local clinicians to establish what they’d like to see from a local medical program.

The school will focus on health issues in Aboriginal communitie­s. “We also know from experience in Northern and Far Northern Queensland that a local medical school will also drive economic growth in the region,” Mr Bowman said.

It comes as a former navy lieutenant embarked on his own medical career after realising he could already study medicine in the NT when he saw an advert for Flinders University on a bus.

Four years on, Jahan Barr is in the second year of his Doctor of Medicine degree and now features on the bus advert himself.

“A constant rate of effort and some hard work and you can get through it,” Mr Barr said.

Since the Flinders University Northern Territory medical program began in 2011, 131 students have graduated and 63 per cent of graduates have taken up junior doctor positions in the Territory.

 ?? ?? Jahan Barr is featured in the latest Flinders University medicine program advert on a Darwin bus.
Jahan Barr is featured in the latest Flinders University medicine program advert on a Darwin bus.

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