University’s medical school still poised for green light
The University of Waikato’s hopes of having a third medical school still have a heartbeat after National put the facility on its 100day action plan. The long-touted medical school focusing on rural medical needs was resurrected during National’s election campaign, saying a third medical school was required to boost doctor numbers. That, along with adding 50 training places across Auckland and Otago’s schools, would mean an extra 220 doctors graduating each year by 2030. However, ACT had questioned if money was better spent funding the current schools. The university now has to provide a more up to date business case – which vice-chancellor Neil Quigley has been organising in Wellington this week. The initial proposal has capital costs to set up the Waikato medical school to be about $380m, with the Crown contributing up to $280 million – pending a final business case and Waikato University raising the remaining $100 million. Quigley said it was important National had put it on its 100-day plan. “It's not a question of trying to influence anyone any more. It's just a question of working out what we're going to do.” In 2016, Waikato University and the thenWaikato District Health Board announced a joint bid to establish the country’s third medical school. National committed to creating a school of rural medicine ahead of the 2017 and 2020 general elections, but Labour never backed the idea.