H&P Times Column - National will build new medical school

Last week, National announced that if elected to government in October, we will build a new medical school at the University of Waikato.

This is great news not only for Hamilton, but all of New Zealand, with more doctors to be trained here in New Zealand as a result of this policy.

We will also increase the number of students in existing medical schools, creating more placements to ensure more doctors are trained locally every year.

East Auckland is not alone in suffering sick and injured New Zealanders stuck with long waiting hours in emergency departments, weeks to see a GP, and months on surgical wait lists.

New Zealand does not train enough doctors to meet the demands of our growing and aging population, or to replace our retiring health workforce.

We need more doctors in our city and we need more doctors all over New Zealand.

So, on top of the new Waikato medical school, which will train 120 new doctors every year, we will increase the number of medical school placements at existing medical schools in Auckland and Otago by a total of 50 from 2025.

This is on top of the 50 extra places announced earlier this year.

Together, this will see an additional 220 extra doctors graduating a year by 2030, compared to just 50 more under Labour’s plan.

The new medical school will have clinical training alliances with other universities and medical facilities around regional New Zealand – a model that will deliver more doctors committed to serving in provincial and rural parts of the country too.

Increasing home-grown doctors is vital to delivering the public services that New Zealanders deserve and National sees this as an essential and long-term investment.

This medical school should have been started five years ago as the previous National Government planned.

Labour cancelled it in 2018 and their short-sightedness means we will have to continue to rely heavily on immigration to increase our doctor numbers in the short term.

A responsible government plans for the future, and that is exactly what a National government will do.