13 Dec 2013

More Maori medical students a good omen - academic

8:10 pm on 13 December 2013

The Otago University Associate Dean of Maori in Health Sciences Jo Baxter hopes a surge in enrolments by tangata whenua will make a dent in poor Maori health statistics in the future.

She says the number of Maori who have gained entry into the School of Medicine has more than doubled in recent years to about 45 students.

She says that a similar increase has also been noted in dentistry and other health professions and is due to Maori bridging and support programmes introduced after 2010.

Ms Baxter says she hopes these students will end up working throughout the country, making it more likely for Maori whanau who enter hospital to deal with a Maori doctor, physiotherapist of pharmacist.

She says having more Maori health professionals in the community could improve poor Maori health statistics.

The Medical Council's latest workforce survey shows that Maori make up 2.9% of doctors.