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Solutions needed for medical students

FROM: Dr John Adams, NZMA Chairman

DATE: Wednesday, 31 October 2001

SUBJECT: Solutions needed for medical students

The New Zealand Medical Association is disappointed that the Education and Science Select Committee came up with no solutions to the problems of high student debt.

The Select Committee's report has recommended more research be carried out into tertiary education resourcing.

"If more research is needed, then the government must direct departments to carry this out," said NZMA Chairman Dr John Adams. "We cannot wait until the problems worsen before the government accepts there is a problem with high fees and huge loans

"It's time for politicians to get real and find some answers. If they truly value the tertiary education received by people in New Zealand, then they should start looking at practical ways to reduce the burden and encourage graduates to stay in New Zealand."

The NZMA has long highlighted the situation faced by medical students, and recent research has confirmed that New Zealand faces a potential long-term shortage of locally trained doctors

The research, published in the latest edition of the New Zealand Medical Journal, showed that medical students face average debts of $70,000 and that more than 80 percent of them intend to work overseas within two years of graduating.

"The Select Committee has examined this issue for 18 months and come up with nothing, " Dr Adams said. "With reports of the 'brain drain' of our brightest young people overseas, it was critical that the Select Committee make progress on this issue.

"Already hundreds of newly graduated doctors are leaving New Zealand to work overseas, and it is likely the situation will worsen. This issue is too serious to neglect."

ENDS

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