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Funding Needed for Rural Curriculum in Med Schools

DATE: Tuesday 25th October 2005
SUBJECT: Urgent Funding Needed for Rural Curriculum in Medical Schools
FROM: New Zealand Medical Students’ Association

The New Zealand Medical Students’ Association released today its Rural Curricula policy, outlining the urgency needed by the Government to adequately fund a rural undergraduate curriculum in New Zealand medical schools.

“New Zealand is currently facing a shortage of rural doctors,” said Xaviour Walker, President elect of the New Zealand Medical Students’ Association (NZMSA). “The NZMSA believes that a well-resourced and well-designed undergraduate rural curriculum can play a significant and positive role in recruiting New Zealand trained doctors to work in rural areas.”

There is at present no specific government funding of rural undergraduate curricula in New Zealand medical schools. In 2004, the medical faculties of Auckland and Otago submitted a proposal to Government for $12 million to fund a 12-month rural curriculum for the rural origin students and a 12-week rural attachment for all students. The full funding was agreed to, and promised in 2004, but has not been delivered.

“The government in 2004 attempted to address the rural workforce shortage by creating 40 additional funded places in our medical schools,” said Xaviour Walker. “However these students currently have limited medical training in rural areas. For long term solutions we need to appropriately fund a rural career training pathway to provide the skills needed to practice in rural New Zealand.”
“Rural medical education represents an investment in the health system, as well as education. The rural community is an integral part of New Zealand, and there must efforts by the Government to provide a sustainable rural medical workforce.


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