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More places earmarked for rural medical students

Health Minister Tony Ryall has today announced there will be an additional 34 medical places for students next year at our two medical schools, including more positions earmarked for rural students.

Mr Ryall made the announcement at Taumarunui Hospital, a busy rural health facility in the King Country with around 100 staff.

“Research shows that students who grew up in rural areas, such as Taumarunui, are more likely to go back and work in those areas. These extra places will help encourage more doctors to work in our rural communities,” says Mr Ryall.

“Since 2009 this government has now funded 170 extra medical school places.

“The funding of these additional medical places is part of the $18 million the government made available for post-graduate education and training of doctors in this year’s Budget” says Mr Ryall.

Half of the positions will be offered to rural students through the Regional and Rural Admissions Scheme at the University of Auckland and the Rural Sub Category at the University of Otago. The other 17 places will be offered to students through the Universities’ other application routes.

Auckland University will increase the number of students on its Regional and Rural Admissions Scheme from 40 to 52 from 2015. Meanwhile, Otago University has increased its number from 50 to 55 from the same year.

“There are record numbers of doctors and nurses working in our public hospitals and we are committed to continuing to increase the number of front line health staff,” says Mr Ryall.

Latest Ministry of Health data from March 2014 showed 7,518 doctors and 21,598 nurses are employed by district health boards – over 1,500 more doctors and 3,200 more nurses compared to 2008.

Media contact: Jannel Carter 027 589 8884 or Lyle Skipsey 021 993 701

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