We all know we don't have enough doctors in New Zealand, so I'm glad that Chris Luxon and Dr Shane Reti have announced a new medical school at the University of Waikato will happen if there is a change in government after October.
This is excellent news for the Waikato and New Zealand, including here on the North Shore, with more doctors for our communities. I have been fortunate to have input into the health workforce policy by applying my real-world experience working within the public health system and as a registered paramedic.
I am frustrated seeing sick and injured New Zealanders wait for hours in emergency departments, wait weeks to see a GP and spend months on surgical wait lists.
New Zealand needs to train more doctors to meet the demands of our growing and ageing population or to replace our retiring health workforce. We need more doctors here in Auckland, and throughout New Zealand, and this is something that should not be a surprise, so one wonders why this hasn't occurred to date.
On top of the new Waikato medical school, which will train 120 new doctors, the number of medical school placements at Auckland and Otago will also increase by 50 from 2025. Together, this will see an additional 220 extra doctors graduating a year by 2030, compared to just 50 more under the current government's plan.
The new medical school will have clinical training alliances with other universities and medical facilities around regional New Zealand. This model will deliver more doctors committed to serving our growing cities, regions, and provinces.
Increasing home-grown doctors is vital to delivering the public services that New Zealanders deserve, and this is an essential and long-term investment. A responsible government plans for the future, which is what a future National government I am part of representing our community will do.
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