Student bond idea `has merit’
By DAN SILKSTONE – The Press | Tuesday, 27 May 2008
National Party leader John Key supports forcing medical graduates to remain in New Zealand for a set period as part of student loan arrangements.
Good grief – how did this reporting get past The Press sub?
The headline sums up the story but nowhere in the article is there anything to back up the first paragraph’s statement that Key supports forcing medical graduates to remain here. And the Herald makes it quite clear the scheme, if implemented, would be voluntary.
National leader John Key says his party is considering wiping medical students’ loans if they agree to work as GPs in rural areas for three or four years.
“I am very concerned about the number of young graduates that are completing their qualification here in New Zealand and leaving,” Mr Key said this morning.
“We need them in New Zealand, we’ve got a GP shortage that is well acknowledged and we’re not afraid to look at creative ways of maybe encouraging them to stay.”
Mr Key said any scheme would be voluntary.
“There are plenty of doctors who have a student loan – they might owe $90-$100,000. The concept of them working in part of regional or rural New Zealand for three or four years to have their loan written off might be very attractive,” he said.
“That’s the kind of model we are considering.”
And the idea has merit. There is nothing wrong with graduates going overseas for further training or work experience, but we have a problem when they feel forced to go away for better pay and then don’t come back.
There is a shortage of GPs, especially in rural areas – every doctor at one medical practice in Oamaru is from overseas. Otago Medical School has started a rural training scheme which bases fifth year students in provincial towns in an attempt to redress the chronic shortage of rural doctors. There are a variety of reasons doctors prefer working in cities, but writing off a portion of a recent graduate’s loan for every year worked may help encourage some to the country.
Hat tip: kiwiblog