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NZMA welcomes medical education funding increase

Thursday, 7 December 2006

NZMA welcomes medical education funding increase

A substantial funding increase for medical student education has been warmly welcomed by the New Zealand Medical Association.

Tertiary Education Minister Michael Cullen today announced that next year funding rates to universities for medical courses will increase by $13,566 - up 72 percent for medical students in their 2nd and 3rd years, and up 55 percent for years 4-6 medical students.

“The NZMA has long believed that medical student funding was woefully inadequate, and we have advocated for more funding,” said NZMA Chairman Dr Ross Boswell. “We are delighted at the level of this funding increase which will make a huge difference to medical education.”

“If we want to produce well-educated junior doctors, then our universities and their academic staff need to be funded adequately to do this work which is of great importance to the future well-being of New Zealanders.

“Inadequate funding has previously put pressure on the universities to cut staff costs, to limit initiatives such as rural medical education, and to increase student fees. High fees have led to students graduating with huge debts and driven them to work overseas or into the higher paid specialties. Shortages of junior doctors and shortages in some specialties have resulted.

“We now look forward to some of this funding increase flowing through to a reduction in the actual fees paid by medical students for their courses,” Dr Boswell said.

“The NZMA has worked closely with the New Zealand Medical Students’ Association for a number of years to advocate for more funding for medical students and today’s announcement will be the best Christmas present medical education could get.”

ENDS


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