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The joint bid of Waikato University and Waikato District Health Board to establish the country’s third medical school is opposed by the University of Otago and University of Auckland medical schools.

The sides squared off in this month’s New Zealand Medical Journal. Today, Waikato District Health Board chief executive Dr Nigel Murray and Otago Medical School dean Prof Peter Crampton put their respective cases on the matter.

Otago Daily Times Online News | Dr Nigel Murray wrote:

Dear Prof Crampton,

While I was pleased to see your editorial in the New Zealand Medical Journal contributing to the medical education debate, I was disappointed to read your rejection of the need for New Zealand’s third medical school in the Waikato.

Waikato DHB Chief Executive Dr Nigel Murray

Waikato DHB Chief Executive Dr Nigel Murray

You acknowledge the health workforce shortages in our rural and provincial communities, so I don’t understand why you would argue against a well-considered case to fix this endemic and serious problem.

The editorial argues that your school and the Auckland Medical School already select some students from rural backgrounds and give them experience in community settings. But declining GP numbers are a fact, only 15%-17% of medical school graduates become a GP, so clearly the status quo is not working and it is time for a radically different approach. In fact this shortfall is one of the reasons we import 1100 overseas doctors to help support and fill the gaps in primary care.

Read the full story on the Otago Daily Times site.

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