Government to increase the number of funded medical students from 2024

Health

Funding for medical school enrolments will be increased by 50 places beginning in 2024, Minister of Health, Dr Hon Ayesha Verrall announced today. The funding is one of a range of investments the Government is making in the health workforce to ensure all New Zealanders can access the medical care they need, when and where they need it.  

The additional funding will see the cap on funding for first-year medical school enrolments be increased to 589 places annually, from the current 539. The additional places will be allocated across the University of Auckland and University of Otago beginning in 2024. 

“We are growing the number of doctors trained in New Zealand to help meet the needs of our population and ensure health equity across the country. We want to train and retain as many local health workers as possible,” Dr Ayesha Verrall said.

“We have always been reliant on overseas-trained doctors, and we recognise the skills and knowledge the international workforce brings to our workforce. However, to address inequities in the system and build a sustainable workforce, we must grow and invest in our domestic doctors, especially when there is global competition for internationally trained doctors. 

“Training more medical students will help us grow our domestic workforce over time, ensuring we can provide sustainable public health care.”

The increased investment in medical school enrolments is among a range of initiatives underway to reduce pressures on the health workforce.  The Government has allocated more than $1 billion to increase health workers’ pay rates and boost staff numbers. This includes funding more targeted workforce initiatives, including nursing and midwifery training. 

Workforce is a key priority for the Government. Health entities are working on long-term plans to ensure a sustainable, representative and responsive workforce to meet the future needs of New Zealanders, no matter who they are and where they live. 

“We’ve made strong progress in the first year of the health reforms, but we know there is still more to do,” Ayesha Verrall said.