20 Aug 2008

New health centre hailed

3:25 pm on 20 August 2008

A new health teaching centre in South Auckland is being hailed as a model for others to follow.

Counties Manukau District Health Board on Tuesday announced plans for a Centre for Health Services Innovation involving Auckland University, AUT and the Manukau Institute of Technology.

Health groups say the project is exactly what is needed to tackle chronic shortages in the workforce and create long-term jobs in South Auckland.

Medical Association chairman Peter Foley hopes the centre will encourage other health boardss to do more to meet training needs.

The centre, in new buildings at Middlemore Hospital, will house the combined teaching and research functions of two universities and an institute of technology.

Under the plan, Auckland University will move its South Auckland Clinical School, including trainee doctors and four new research chairs.

Dean of medical and health sciences Iain Martin says work on the project has been going on for 12 months.

If approved by the Ministry of Health, the centre is set to open in 2011.

Funding question

One question hanging over the project is where the money will coming from.

The Government recently gave the Auckland University of Technology $25 million for a new campus in Manukau City.

AUT dean of health and environmental sciences Max Abbott says the Government has not yet agreed to provide the necessary funds to expand its health training programmes.

District health board chief executive Geraint Martin insists the new project can be fully funded by redirecting the money it already receives from the Government and the three tertiary health providers.