30 September 2008

The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) has been eagerly awaiting the Medical Training Board (MTB) report, and warmly welcomes the options highlighted in its reports/discussion papers released today.

NZMA Chairman Dr Peter Foley said: "We congratulate the members of the MTB for their efforts to date. After decades of waiting, we finally have some concrete options based on very sound analysis on which to base the future development of the medical workforce. They offer very significant opportunities for action by the post-election government, and need to be followed up without any further delay. While we are surprised that the MTB has softly framed its recommendations as 'options' we call on both major parties to clearly indicate their support for the direction highlighted in the papers, and their willingness to take immediate action."

"We are particularly pleased to see the issue of a substantial increase in medical school places being addressed, and we urge the incoming government to implement this as a matter of urgency," said Dr Foley. "While we acknowledge the intense forecasting the MTB has used, we had hoped for a bigger initial increase in medical student numbers. Of course this increase must occur in conjunction with both increased training capacity and measures to improve retention. We also need to see much greater integration and coordination of medical education and training, and we will study the paper on the curriculum framework with great interest."

Dr Foley added: "In recognising and actioning these important proposals by the MTB, we must not lose sight of the needs of the wider health workforce, and developments in other areas need to continue."