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Mike's Minute: The wheels are finally turning for a new med school

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 14 Feb 2024, 9:37AM

Mike's Minute: The wheels are finally turning for a new med school

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 14 Feb 2024, 9:37AM

The thing you ask when we heard about the University of Waikato and the Ministry of Health signing a memorandum of understanding for a third medical school is, why have we had to wait this long? 

During Covid it became astonishingly clear how short of doctors we were; when the waiting lists once again got the heat of public anger, when the number of students dropped away both locally and internationally because of the closed borders, when the stats around the GP's showing how many are about to retire were published, how more and more of us couldn’t get to a GP because their books are closed and where just this week we have heard yet again from GP's and the crisis they are in. 

With all of that mounting up, all that clear and present danger, and the seeming mass agreement we were short of talent, why the hell haven't we been training more doctors? 

Is joining dots really that complex an art? 

Why the hell have we only got two medical schools? 

So, an announcement within the promised first 100 days. It's some common sense, something a bit practical that looks like it's at least in part addressing a very obvious problem. 

We have 300 New Zealanders a year training in Australia. Surely we can keep them at home. 

We have students who graduate leaving the country. Surely we can work harder to keep some at home. 

Surely we have more candidates than there are places. Surely a third school helps address that. 

And so the business case will be made. 

In time, I assume, they will actually get something underway with some real courses teaching real students, who will pop out and do some much-needed real doctoring in a country, like most Western countries these days, who operate a public health care system barely holding it together at best. 

Good Government is about common sense, practical ideas and solid solutions. 

You would not have thought a third medical school was really that difficult and yet it took until this week. 

But at least the wheels, at last, actually turn.   

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