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Otago University investigating trainee doctors who went on holidays instead of work placements

Otago University is formally investigating its sixth-year medical degree electives after dozens of students skipped their work placements to go on holidays instead.

University of Otago Source: istock.com

The issue was revealed in 2019, when it was discovered more than 50 of the trainee doctors faked their compulsory three-month overseas hospital placements and went on holiday instead.

The students weren't allowed to graduate with their classmates until they paid back the grant for the weeks of electives missed, completed community work and wrote a reflective essay.

Today, University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne said they're launching a formal inquiry, nearly two years later.

Hayne says they'll be looking at previous years, as well as the 2019 cohort, in the investigation.

It will also look into whether Otago staff knew or encouraged the practice as well as the "adequacy of steps taken by the Otago Medical School to tighten procedures".