Waikato call for 'radical' medical education reform

It is time for ``radical reform'' of medical education in New Zealand, Waikato District Health Board chief executive Dr Nigel Murray says.

He said a third medical school would fix the ``rural crisis in healthcare'' by training doctors to work in those areas.

Dr Murray denied the DHB, which has its own clinical problems to deal with, was empire-building or going outside its remit.

``One of the duties of a chief executive is to make sure you have the workforce to deliver the healthcare to the population they serve ... we're not empire-building.''

A feared bottleneck in first year postgraduate positions would be managed by creating new placements through ``radical'' steps.

``We will be making investments into more placements; we will be training people outside the hospital.''

It would have a big focus on the central North Island, but the school's graduates would head to rural areas all over the country, he said.

Hamilton-based Labour List MP Sue Moroney has questioned the Waikato DHB's involvement, given it faces core service problems such as losing training accreditation in obstetrics and gynaecology, Fairfax Media reported.

``The issue of accreditation with obstetrics is not relevant to this. It has been largely resolved and it will be well and truly resolved before our doctors start needing that training programme,'' Dr Murray told the Otago Daily Times.

Dr Murray is an Otago Medical School graduate and former chief executive of the defunct Southland District Health Board.

The Waikato DHB has made a joint bid with Waikato University to set up New Zealand's third medical school.

The University of Otago and the University of Auckland say they will fix the shortage of rural doctors through a new joint initiative, and they strongly oppose a third school.

Tertiary Education Minister Paul Goldsmith said this week he was assessing both bids - Waikato's request for a medical school, and Otago/Auckland's bid for a School of Rural Health.

eileen.goodwin@odt.co.nz

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