Auckland Uni rejects Prime Minister's claim about med school bid

Prime Minister Bill English said officials were continuing to examine the Waikato's bid for a third medical school.

Prime Minister Bill English said officials were continuing to examine the Waikato's bid for a third medical school.

Bill English appears to have ticked off Auckland University's vice-chancellor. 

"The Dunedin and Auckland proposals [to address the rural GP shortage] appeared really only because of the Waikato [med school] proposal," Bill English said at a media stand-up in Hamilton on Tuesday.

Vice-Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon rejected that claim and hit back with a press statement.

Professor McCutcheon said English's comments failed to acknowledge that both Auckland and Otago had been active in this area for many years. 

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"There is no doubt that the most effective way to address this issue is by building on the capability that already exists in New Zealand's two world-class medical schools," McCutcheon said.

"What we don't want to see is the government wasting hundreds of millions of public dollars by creating another medical school when the issue is not a shortage of medical graduates, but rather where they end up practising."

In October, Waikato University and the Waikato District Health Board revealed a bold bid to create the country's third medical school.

Five months later, Auckland and Otago medical schools responded with a bid of their own.

In May, Stuff published in-house emails that revealed Auckland and Otago universities stepped up work on a counter bid of their own to stymie Waikato's proposed medical school.

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Both schools publicly denied their proposal was a reaction to Waikato's bid, saying it dated to 2015.

Yet an email in March from Otago medical school dean Professor Peter Crampton to Otago University Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne​ refers to the counter bid being worked on by Otago and Auckland.

"This is the collaborative project that I referred to - essentially a counter proposal to the Waikato third medical school bid," Crampton wrote.

"This is tricky territory, but I am supportive of us being fully engaged with this initiative."

 - Stuff


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