International medical students seem likely to miss out on
placements because of the placement shortage for graduate
doctors, University of Otago Faculty of Medicine manager
Bruce Smith says.
The health sector struggled to find places for this year's
graduates, an unexpected shortage resolved this month when
some health boards agreed to take more. The tight situation
was caused by a combination of more graduates and lower
turnover among doctors.
Dunedin School of Medicine had 31 international medical
students and 217 domestic students completing their final
''That seems to be what the situation is at the moment
[international students missing out], and this is the first
year that's happened,'' Mr Smith said.
Only two of the international students were privately funded,
as most were paid for by their governments, largely due to
shortages of medical school places in their countries.
Although many of the publicly funded students went home for
their postgraduate placements, some had stayed in New
The New Zealand option was especially important for students
whose governments were not funding them.
Mr Smith said New Zealand was lucky to have sufficient
capacity to train its medical students, and no domestic
students missed out because of the presence of international
New Zealand Medical Students' Association president Phillip
Chao said yesterday medical students had not been impressed
by the way the shortfall was handled.
Although domestic students were now assured places, there had
been a couple of weeks of great uncertainty this month that
should have been flagged earlier.
He said the situation was difficult for some international
graduates, who in some cases had spent more than $300,000 to
train and might not be able to gain a place in their home
Mr Chao said the short-fall problem should have been
He acknowledged it was a complex issue because of the need to
place domestic students.
A spokeswoman for Health Workforce NZ, executive chairman
Prof Des Gorman, said he was overseas and could not respond.
Prof Gorman spoke at a medical conference in Dunedin earlier
this month, when he said the domestic students were all
placed because of the goodwill of DHBs.
An ''extraordinary'' drop in international medical jobs
contributed to the shortfall, Prof Gorman said earlier this