Auckland Uni pushes back against Waikato med school

  • 09/08/2017

The country's third medical school should not be in the Waikato as it will be too costly and will not benefit rural New Zealand, says the vice-chancellor of the University of Auckland.

The country has two established medical schools, in Auckland and Otago, the leaders of which have already attempted to pour cold water on the joint bid by the University of Waikato and Waikato DHB.

The bid was put in on May 31 and a decision from the government on whether to back it is looming.

Professor Stuart McCutcheon, the University of Auckland vice-chancellor, says the government needs to "ignore the hype" around the planned new medical school.

He said it will require several hundred millions of dollars in investment that, unlike Auckland and Otago, has no medically related subjects ranked in the top 500 in the world.

"A third medical school, originally touted for Wellington, is about the least efficient way imaginable of providing more rural health professionals," he said.

"The issue for New Zealand is not the number of medical graduates but rather where they practise.

"Setting up a new medical programme, especially a postgraduate programme, would be an extremely expensive way of addressing this issue."

The two existing medical schools are responding already to the increased demand for doctors, Prof McCutcheon said.

Waikato DHB chief executive Dr Nigel Murray said all questions put to them by government departments including Treasury and the Ministry of Health had been responded to.

Grants from the Health Research Council for $3.3m for projects on reducing delays for cancer diagnosis and improving outcomes for Māori children admitted to hospital have already been approved for the nascent Waikato medical school.

NZN

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