The Government has taken an important step forward in addressing a critical shortage of New Zealand-trained doctors, with today’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a third medical school, Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti has announced.
“Today’s signing by the Ministry of Health and the University of Waikato is a big step forward,” Dr Reti says.
“The Ministry and the University will now work together on a robust process to make sure the model can achieve the health workforce outcomes we all know New Zealand needs.
“The MoU will enable the parties to progress with establishing the business case for a third school, as our country faces a dire shortage of Kiwi doctors.
“Signing off on an MoU was a key commitment in the coalition Government’s 100-day plan that formalises the start of a business case and I am delighted to have seen it through today.
“Increasing the number of homegrown health professionals is a top priority to make sure all New Zealanders have timely access to quality healthcare.
“New Zealanders have been facing longer and longer delays in accessing healthcare, and tackling our workforce crisis is key to solving that issue.
“New Zealand’s existing medical schools at the University of Auckland and the University of Otago are top quality and have immediately benefited from increased places at both universities this year.
“However stats also tell us many GPs are planning to retire in the next 10 years, which will particularly impact provincial and rural communities already experiencing New Zealand’s biggest doctor shortages.
“A proposed third medical school will have a focus on primary care. We will take time to consider the needs of rural areas and we envisage a four year graduate entry program, instead of the existing six year programs.
“This initiative also looks to retain more New Zealanders in our domestic medical school programs, given more than 300 New Zealand students a year have been training in Australian medical schools.
“The University and the Ministry will now begin working through the necessary steps to ensure the best training model can be developed. This includes a cost-benefit analysis to give everyone assurance of the feasibility of this program,” Dr Reti says.