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Populist statements on bonding don’t equal policy


Hon David Cunliffe
Minister of Health

27 May2008

Populist statements on bonding don’t equal policy

Minister of Health David Cunliffe said John Key’s comment that National would bond medical students highlights National’s ad-hoc approach to healthcare policy.

“Last night Mr Key was reported as saying the National Party was considering bonding medical students as part of any student loan agreement. Today they are only considering a voluntary scheme. Which is it’?”

“Clearly Mr Key is taking an ad-hoc approach to developing policy if he can’t even maintain a clear stance for 24 hours on bonding of medical students.”

Mr Cunliffe said the Government has put a considerable amount of work into developing a comprehensive workforce development plan, which is ongoing – that plan was giving consideration voluntary bonding as well as a range of other initiatives.

As part of that comprehensive policy training places for doctors had increased twice under this Government to 365 meaning that this year the highest number ever of first year medical students were in place.

In November this year an extra 40 young doctors will graduate from medical school and increased investment means a further 40 new students are starting as medical students this year.

The Government has also increased number of places on GP vocational training (The number of Clinical Training Agency (CTA) funded training places was increased this year from 69 to 104 in the 2008 academic year), and has exposed increasing numbers of 5th year medical students to working in rural locations in areas like Southland and West Coast through an immersion programme.

”We have done all these things as part of an overall health workforce strategy. Ad-hoc statements about one group in the health workforce only show a lack of understanding and demonstrate a complete absence of policy.”

ENDS

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