Medical school 'derelict in its duties': family

Hard-working future doctors have been ''scapegoated'' by the Otago Medical School in the overseas placement scandal, the family of an affected student says.

This week the University of Otago announced 53 medical students, or 21.5% of the 2019 graduating year, would have their qualifications withheld.

They will face a range of consequences including repaying some grant funding and compensating for unworked time with community service or research.

This came after an investigation by the university of medical trainee interns failing to meet elective placement attendance expectations and in some cases falsifying attendance documents.

The family of one student, who requested anonymity, said this year's interns were ''scapegoated''.

Over many years a precedent for presuming some leeway in placement attendance was developed by former students, one family member said.

''It was not the culture to not go to any placements ... it's work hard and take a little bit of a break.''

Another family member said the students this year had ''no idea whatsoever this was going to fall down on them''.

Part of the blame lay with the medical school, which could have notified the students when it began investigating the issue earlier in the year that strict attendance was required, family members said.

''It seems to us the medical school was derelict in its duties and responsibilities not to have been aware over many years that students felt they had some leeway re their elective times.

''It is also likely that at least some of the senior medical staff at the medical school had been aware of this practice.''

The offending of the student in their family was on the ''lighter side'', they said.

''Obviously the students have to be held accountable for their actions, but it's been difficult for us to see how hard this degree has been, the struggle, and how passionate these students are about what they do, and how hard they work, and have them portrayed in the media as people who don't have integrity.''

The family called for clarity from the university as to what would happen next as there was uncertainty around when the students could be registered or start work.

The university did not directly respond to the family's comments yesterday, but reiterated its statement on the matter.

This included Vice-Chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne announcing a ''broad and detailed'' inquiry investigating how the misconduct occurred and how it could be prevented in future.

It also contained an acknowledgement by Otago Medical School dean Prof Barry Taylor that the school's systems relating to the elective placements allowed ''the dishonesty to occur'' and that it was reviewing the programme.

jono.edwards@odt.co.nz

Comments

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Falsifying formal documents relating to their placement hours is a deliberate attempt to cheat and they were caught.
How hard students have worked in the past when on placement is not the issue here.

Take the responsibility themselves, they did it - rorted the system themselves. Exchanged ethics for a holiday and themselves above doing it right; above the credit of the university's whose reputation carries them forward in their career and the taxpayer. These "holidays" were grafted by someone else's hard work.

Such hard working people as long as they can take the p*ss when it suits them.

What's the big deal? DCC just had a OE to China...what did we get from that? What's good for the goose is good for the gander! Can't crucify a bunch of students unless your prepared to go after everybody else who's bilking the government! Enforce the rules on everybody starting at the top and stop the hypocrisy or stick your head back in the sand. Bigger fish to fry than a bunch of students who did exactly what all the politicians do.

Medicine, Bud. A higher standard of professionalism required. Cut corners on education = cut corners in practice.

Mate, you need to re-read the story. This has been a long term problem for years. So what are we supposed to do go to Australia for medical treatment now that its become public what medical students have been doing for years? So higher standards of professionalism only apply to doctors? What about the software designer writing programs for aircraft? I would argue he needs to be held to a higher standard given the number of people who could potentially be injured or killed by cutting corners. Totally agree; what's good for the goose is good for the gander! Hold everybody to the standard not just those in medicine Bud!

This kind of arrogant and self-serving excuse, in the face of all evidence, could be straight from the mind of Donald Trump...

"My car accident was the police's fault because they didn't stop me from drinking and driving."

"It's my employer's fault that I stole from the cash register because he should have had better systems to stop a theiving employee like me"

"It's the medical school's fault for not stopping me committing academic fraud because they did not have systems to stop me"

Bloody shameful.

On the bright side, we know that 80% of our young doctors actually are honest...

Ok...I'll bite. What does Donal Trump have to do with a scandal at the medical school? Another case of Trump Derangement Syndrome I suppose? Many Kiwis continue to echo the talking points of the New Zealand propaganda ministry (Mainstream Press) and really don't know what they are talking about. Americans didn't elect Trump because they wanted him; they elected him because he wasn't Clinton! Why do so many Kiwis even care? New Zealand has its own set of problems not unlike the US. Poverty, drugs, illiteracy, racism, sexism...its a borderline 2nd world country incapable of feeding and housing its own people, why are you casting stones at the glass house called America mate?

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