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Otago welcomes government funding boost

7 December 2006

Otago welcomes government funding boost

The future of world-class medical and dental education in New Zealand has been assisted with today’s announcement of significant additional Government funding for these areas.

University of Otago Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health Sciences) Don Roberton, welcomes the Government’s recognition of the need to provide funding that not only meets current requirements but also enables the future development of health professional training.

“Otago is New Zealand’s biggest provider of medical training and has the country’s only Dental School. Funding for these areas has been an issue of growing concern over recent years and we are delighted that the Government has now moved decisively to address this,” Professor Roberton says.

The funding, to be provided from January 2007, will support undergraduate curriculum development in both medicine and dentistry to the highest Australasian and international standards.

“Medical and dental education must develop to maintain relevance to the changing and future health needs of the population. Within the New Zealand context, increased opportunities for learning in community and rural environments are particularly important. Professional and practical skills must also keep pace with advances in knowledge and technology.”

Professor Roberton says the additional funding will also assist with the provision of appropriate infrastructure in Otago’s medical schools in Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington, and the dental school in Dunedin, as well as ensuring world-class staff can be recruited.

“The market for medical and dental academics and clinicians is a truly international one, and if New Zealand is to have an excellent health system it must be able to attract the best staff to train future graduates.”

Maintaining high standards is important for the future health care of New Zealanders, and the funding assistance announced today will be very welcome in continuing and improving the excellence of Otago’s graduates.

The University of Otago looks forward to implementing the considerable improvements in medical and dental training that will be made possible with this funding support.

ENDS

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