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$65,000 in student debt for Auckland's doctors

$65,000 in student debt for Auckland's doctors, no wonder they want to leave.

Greg Langton president of the Auckland University Student's Association (AUSA) expressed outrage at the size of the total average doctor's student debt today.

"The total average doctor's debt at graduation is $65,206 and that is just crippling" Mr Langton said.

"Its worse for our Maori graduate doctors, they come out owing $81,250. Also, only 1 in 5 students received a living allowance for the full 6 years of their MB ChB study"

"Further, 60% of respondents to a survey by the New Zealand University Students Association (NZUSA) said they were forced to work part-time while studying, this obviously impacts the time medical students can devote to their considerable study."

"Study pressures, debt and the strain of having to find money to in order to live places huge pressures on our medical students, they are having real problems with the stresses and anecdotally we think it is resulting in such things as a higher suicide rate."

"The huge debt burden faced by medical students is also forcing our future doctors overseas, two thirds of respondents stated that they would consider leaving New Zealand within three years of graduating" said Patrick Thomsen-Noa, AUSA's Education Vice President. "If that's not bad enough when the country is facing a doctor shortage, those doctors who do stay may not be raising the next generation, 42% of respondents said that their debt has influenced their decision on having children."

"AUSA calls for a decrease in the cost of medical school fees, an immediately increase the trainee intern grant and the introduction of a living allowance for all students to address this problem." Mr Thomsen-Noa stated.

"65,000 dollars in student debt, no wonder two thirds of them are thinking about leaving the country." Mr Langton concluded.

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