17 Oct 2016

New medical school to boost rural doctor numbers

9:16 pm on 17 October 2016

Waikato University has announced plans to create New Zealand's third medical school, aimed at boosting the number of doctors in rural and provincial areas.

Waikato University sign

Photo: cc-by-sa-2.0 / New Zealand Tertiary Education Union

The proposal, which is backed by the Waikato District Health Board, would be a post-graduate course taught in 15 clinics across the central North Island.

The university's vice-chancellor, Neil Quigley, said New Zealand was over-reliant on overseas doctors, with more than 1100 coming into the country every year - and a new medical school would help reduce that.

Mr Quigley said it was hard to attract doctors to rural areas, and a new approach was needed.

The four-year course would be open to anybody who had completed an undergraduate university degree, in any subject.

Waikato DHB chief executive Nigel Murray said the school would help instil an important partnership.

"The culture of the school itself will create that desire, that connection, and partnership that we know are the ingredients to go and practice in your local communities, to serve your local population that you know so well because you're actually part of that community."

Mr Murray said the cost would be in the millions of dollars, which would be met by the DHB, the university and the government.

The business case for the school, in which the first student intake is geared for 2020, was presented to the government yesterday.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs