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Whakatāne to get trainee doctors

Wednesday 18 January, 2017
Whakatāne to get trainee doctors

The first fifth year medical students in a new Regional-Rural Programme will soon be working at Whakatāne Hospital and in local GP rooms.

On Monday (23rd January), the University of Auckland and the Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB) will launch the programme with a joint powhiri/pohiri at the hospital.

Guests at the powhiri will include East Coast MP, the Hon Anne Tolley, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart McCutcheon, and the Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Professor John Fraser.

They will join BOPDHB Board Chair Sally Webb and CEO Helen Mason, as well as local iwi and other dignitaries, to welcome the first group of 18 students to Whakatāne. There will also be a group of the University’s senior medical teaching staff in attendance.

In recent years, University of Auckland students have taken part in a six week rural health immersion programme based at Whakatāne Hospital, but this is the first year of the new Regional-Rural Programme where Auckland students will spend nearly three months at Whakatāne Hospital and the balance of the year at Tauranga Hospital’s Bay of Plenty clinical school.

There will be a total of 58 medical students from the University in the Bay of Plenty this year with 24 fourth year, 18 fifth year and 16 sixth year students.

This is the first time the BOPDHB has had medical students from all three clinical training years for the full academic year.

The fifth year medical students at Whakatāne will be doing hospital based and general practice based placements.

For the University, this is the second Regional-Rural programme – the first was the successful Pukawakawa programme that is based at the Northland DHB and includes training for medical students at Whangarei Hospital and rural hospitals around that region.

“The expansion of our Regional-Rural programme into the Bay of Plenty demonstrates our commitment to giving our medical students training in the regions and rural areas with many returning to those areas later on,” says the Dean, Professor Fraser.

The Head of BOPDHB Clinical School at Tauranga Hospital, Professor Peter Gilling, says the new regional and rural programme will be significant as it will be the first year that Whakatāne Hospital will have a group of fifth year medical students present as part of their academic year.

“The clinical teaching staff at Whakatāne hospital are excited at the prospect of having a group of fifth year medical students,” he says. “This enables the students to have a stronger bond with the workforce, the community and patients.

“Experience suggests that some of the students will return to the area and other rural regions later on as graduate doctors and this will enhance the medical workforce in the Bay of Plenty and rural New Zealand.”

ENDS

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