Funding Review for Med Students Welcomed by NZMA
Funding Review for Medical Students Welcomed by NZMA
A funding review for medical students, announced by Minister for Tertiary Education Michael Cullen today, has been welcomed by the New Zealand Medical Association, which says it is an important step towards reducing the debt burden on medical students and helping to address medical workforce shortages.
“The NZMA and the New Zealand Medical Students’ Association have been expressing concerns about the fees situation for medical students for a number of years,” says NZMA Chairman Dr Ross Boswell.
“Recent studies, including one published in the NZ Medical Journal today, indicate that high medical tuition fees and debt strongly influence medical graduates’ career decisions. Too many graduates and junior doctors are choosing to leave the country and work overseas. There are also far fewer graduates choosing specialties such as general practice, which is already facing shortages.”
Dr Boswell says that while the NZMA fully supports a funding review and looks forward to contributing to it, it is important to recognise that there are many factors affecting medical workforce shortages.
“We continue to urge the Government to adopt a comprehensive strategy for medical workforce development.”
The review will be carried out by the Tertiary Education Commission and the Ministry of Education, who are expected to report back to the Minister later this year.
The New Zealand Medical Students’ Association President Xaviour Walker says the funding review is welcome relief for medical students who have been burdened with the crippling effects of debt over the last 10 years.
“Medical student debt has reached unacceptable levels and the NZMSA congratulates the Government for looking to properly address this with a medical fee review.”
“Medical student debt has had major negative effects on the lives of junior doctors, and has contributed to many leaving New Zealand. This news will not only have a positive effect on the serious financial implications facing our future doctors it will also ensure that New Zealand has a sustainable and diverse workforce.”