Graduate profile: Dr Matt Crilly

Bachelor of Medicine/ Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) graduate

When Western Sydney University opened its Medical School – it opened the door for Matt Crilly to pursue the career that he had always dreamed of.

"I always knew that I wanted to be a doctor, but the reality was that the established medical schools in the city were out of reach for me," says Matt.

"At the time I couldn't afford to travel to, or live in Sydney. But the opening of the School of Medicine at Campbelltown meant that I could study five minutes away from my family home, in the community that I was comfortable and familiar with."

Matt was one of the first cohort of Western Sydney University students to study and graduate from the Bachelor of Medicine/ Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) program. He grew up in Macarthur, and is now a practicing as a General Practitioner in the local area.

The Macarthur Clinical School will continue the University's work of training and educating home-grown doctors – which Matt says is important for the communities of Western Sydney.

"Having grown-up and lived in Macarthur, I feel as though I have a good understanding of its communities. Knowing about the diversities within the local suburbs and the issues that people face makes it much easier to relate to and understand your patients."

When Matt first began studying his Medical degree, his ultimate ambition was to become a Paediatrician – and his passion for working with children remains with him, in his role as a GP. "I could work with kids all day," he says.

However, after finishing his studies, internships and hospital placements, Matt's decision to become a GP was largely a practical one.

"I learned that it was important to balance job satisfaction with personal satisfaction. As a paediatrician, I would have had to move closer to the Children's Hospitals and would have been up for longer hours, and weekend and night shifts. But as I got older, I reassessed my priorities and decided that I wanted to continue living in the area where I grew up, and I wanted a better life balance."

To any young people living in Western Sydney, who may dream of becoming a doctor but feel that it is out of their reach – Matt has one piece of advice:

"Just do it," he says. "When I first started at University, I admit that I felt a bit out of place. Many of my peers came from private colleges in the city, and I came from the local high school around the corner, I think I also had one of the lowest ATARs accepted at the time. But I knuckled down, and studied hard – and I could do it. And so can you."

After graduating, Matt was the highest scoring candidate in NSW and the ACT for the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Fellowship – the practical exam that qualifies doctors to specialise as GPs. For scoring top marks, Matt was awarded the prestigious Tony Buhagiar Memorial Medal.

Return to NSW Health Minister opens multi-million dollar Macarthur Clinical School