The Government will establish a new School of Rural Medicine within the next three years to produce more doctors for our rural communities, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith says.
“Every New Zealander deserves quality healthcare services, and we want to grow the number of doctors in rural and regional areas to make it easier for people in those areas to access other key health services,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“The new School of Rural Medicine will be specifically geared toward meeting the challenges faced by high need and rural areas of the country, and will produce around 60 additional doctors per year.
“I want to thank the University of Waikato and the Waikato DHB for putting forward the initial proposal, and Otago and Auckland Medical Schools for their joint proposal.
“The Government will now run a contestable business case process to consider all options for delivering the new School of Rural Medicine, and ensure it meets the needs of rural New Zealand.
“It is our intention that the successful applicant will be known in 2018 with the new medical school to be up and operating no later than 2020.”
The cost of the new school will be finalised through the business case process, but for example the Waikato proposal is seeking Government funding of around $300 million over ten years.
The Government’s contribution will be met through a combination of existing tertiary funding streams and future operating and capital budget allowances.
“The Government is committed to growing our medical workforce to meet the needs of a growing and ageing population,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“Since 2008 this Government has increased the number of medical students by 47 per cent, with over 530 doctors now being trained annually.
“The new School of Rural Medicine will add to this number, increasing particularly the number of doctors qualified for, and committed to, serving in rural communities.”