A third medical school for New Zealand at the University of Waikato
A third medical school has been proposed for New Zealand at the University of Waikato.
The new Waikato Medical School will take a community-focused approach to health, selecting students who have already completed a three-year undergraduate degree and providing them with four years of intensive, practical medical education, as opposed to five years at the existing medical schools in New Zealand.
The Waikato Medical School is being proposed through a strategic alliance between the University of Waikato and the Waikato District Health Board.
The proposed community-engaged graduate-entry medical school will focus on selecting graduates who are willing to serve high-needs communities and meet the health care needs of the population that lives outside the main centres (i.e. small cities, provincial towns and rural areas).
During their education students will become conversant with the use of modern technologies in providing health care, and will gain practical experience of community-based health and social service partnerships.
The Waikato Medical School is being proposed in response to health workforce shortages, especially in the provincial and rural primary health sector where there is a reliance on overseas-trained doctors.
New Zealand currently has one of the lowest ratios of medical schools to population in the OECD, with one medical school for every 2.35 million people, and each year New Zealand imports 1100 doctors to meet health workforce needs. In comparison, Australia has one medical school for every 1.2 million people.
The Waikato Medical School will follow a widely accepted and successful model currently in use in Australia, Canada and other developed countries by focusing on primary care at its core. This approach to medical education will enable the training of a new breed of doctor who will serve the primary health needs of their communities.
Primary care practitioners work across a range of areas, including preventative medicine, chronic disease management, mental health, child health and acute care medicine.