26 Sep 2011

Australian rural hospitals seen as better

5:43 am on 26 September 2011

A medical student recently returned from a posting in a rural Australian hospital, says it was better staffed and had better teaching facilities in place than New Zealand.

Thomas Kuperus is in his fifth year of study at the Dunedin School of Medicine and one of three students to receive a scholarship for the two-week trip.

Mr Kuperus was at a teaching hospital in Bairnsdale, three hours east of Melbourne.

He says the two countries share similar staffing difficulties but manage them differently. In Australia, students are offered incentives while still in medical school to encourage them to stay in rural areas after they have graduated.

Mr Kuperus is taking part in a rural immersion programme which places 50 medical students a year in rural centres for work placements.

The programme is run through the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust and aims to support rural medicine in New Zealand.