In what is being hailed as a ‘positive move’, Mildura Base Public Hospital (MBPH) and La Trobe University have further strengthened their alliance, this week signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU).

The three-year agreement will see the two organisations work together to explore establishing a longer-term strategic partnership.

MBPH CEO Terry Welch said it was important to form strong strategic alliances and he was looking forward to working with La Trobe to identify new opportunities.

“La Trobe have been a long-term partner of our organisation and it makes sense to expand on our great relationship,” Mr Welch said.

Under the terms of reference outlined in the MOU both organisations have committed to explore a number of different opportunities.

Some of the areas they will focus on include improving and retaining rural health workforces, educational opportunities for prospective indigenous students, the sharing of teaching and training facilities and taking a collaborative approach to research in rural strategic priority areas.

Mr Welch said recruiting staff was an ongoing issue, but he believed the partnership with La Trobe University would allow MBPH to build a sustainable workforce of locally trained health professionals.

“Our geographical location poses many challenges for us which is why it is important we identify and work with institutions like La Trobe to fill these voids.
“We are extremely lucky to have an organisation who is strategically aligned to what we are trying to achieve.
“The model we hope to put in place with La Trobe is very exciting and will hopefully provide great long-term outcomes for healthcare in our region.”

La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Dewar, echoed Mr Welch’s comments, saying the University valued its close partnership with MBPH.

“Our new agreement, between La Trobe University and Mildura Base Public Hospital demonstrates our joint commitment to establishing a strong, locally trained rural health workforce for the region,” Professor Dewar said.
“La Trobe’s Rural Health School has a long and proven history of nurturing job-ready graduates in nursing and allied health in Mildura.”

From next year La Trobe will expand the range of health-related courses available at its Mildura campus with the introduction of a double degree in nursing and midwifery.

The new four-year Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Midwifery is in direct response to MBPH’s concern over the lack of midwives and again emphasises the great collaboration between the two organisations.

La Trobe will offer 10 places in the new course with MBPH committing to providing extra placement hours.

Professor Dewar said this was another example of the collaborative approach being taken by La Trobe and MBPH.

“From next year we will be growing the midwifery workforce through students enrolling in this new, flexible online and face-to-face midwifery degree right here in Mildura.”