Otago University opens up extra places for medical and dentistry students from low decile areas

Otago University is targeting medical and dentistry students from low decile areas as well as refugees in order to better reflect the society we live in.

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It comes as Otago University sets up a new system to fill the nationwide shortage. Source: 1 NEWS

Finding doctors for smaller areas is also a problem, the reason the university is opening up more slots for students in these fields.

Twenty five places this year will be filled by those from lower decile schools and ten places for refugees.

“There’s always been shortages of doctors where I live, wait times are ridiculous, and you end up having to wait three weeks to go, and by the time you’ve got your appointment you’re better or the issue is not there anymore,” Luka Fox, a medical student who is originally from Taipa, said.

Vice chancellor for Health Sciences at Otago University, professor Paul Brunton says the move should create a more effective health care force.

“The intake to our programme should reflect the society in which we live, it should be so that when students graduate they can more accurately reflect the needs of individual groups in the society, so we have a more effective health care work force,” he told 1 NEWS.

The slots mean the university will offer extra support to selected students during their first year studying health science.

Mr Fox, 19, says he always dreamed of becoming a doctor and is hoping to return home after his studies.

“It definitely helped out a lot - without it I would not have been in medicine now,” he says.