Carmen is a social issues and rural reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

New medical campus for Bay of Plenty

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BOPDHB clinical school head of department Professor Peter Gilling expects Tauranga Hospital and Whakatane Hospital would become a medical campus within two years. PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK
BOPDHB clinical school head of department Professor Peter Gilling expects Tauranga Hospital and Whakatane Hospital would become a medical campus within two years. PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK

Bay of Plenty is set to get a medical campus to cater for the increasing length of time trainee doctors are spending in the region.

Bay of Plenty District Health Board Clinical School head Professor Peter Gilling said it became an academic site for the University of Auckland medical students in 2010 but due to growth he expected Tauranga Hospital and Whakatane Hospital to become campuses within two years.

"This would be a major milestone and part of the university infrastructure not just an outpost. I think it will probably mean increased resource and we would be looking for infrastructure support.''

''We are just using hospital facilities at the moment, including the conference centre and all the tutorial rooms, but my goal would be to have a purpose-built building.''

Data shows in 2010, 36 medical students from Auckland University spent 311 weeks in the Bay training but it was projected 87 students would spend 1800 weeks at Tauranga Hospital and Whakatane Hospital next year.

Initially Year Six medical students in their final year trained at the hospitals but in 2015 that was extended to include Year Four and in 2017, Year Five students would start, Dr Gilling said.

Historically the Bay of Plenty was a popular lifestyle destination for junior doctors, he said.

''They all get flats at the Mount and buy their surfboards and have a great time. There was a little bit of that in the early days but now our exit surveys show the students get a lot more hands on experience and excellent teaching activity.''

Dr Gilling said student training was an integral part of any major medical institution and it was trying to create an academic component that was attractive to all staff.

''If you were looking for a new job it makes it more attractive for good quality staff if they know they can have an academic or research future as well.''

Priority One interim chief executive Greg Simmonds said it was ''exciting news for Tauranga as we position ourselves as a destination for tertiary education''.

Growing local talent and attracting people to the region, who had the skills necessary to meet the region's future job growth was essential for sustainable social and economic development.

''Due to population ageing, the workforce in the health sector is expected to increase by 25 per cent in the next decade to keep up with demand, so the BOP Clinical School plays a key role in attracting high quality health professionals to the region.''

''Having an academic campus of Auckland University's medical school in Tauranga will add further choice to our growing suite of tertiary provision, alongside the University of Waikato's Tauranga campus development, the significantly expanded Waiariki-Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and a suite of other programmes provided by locally based private training establishments.''

University of Auckland medical student placements


2010 - 36 placements
2016 - 370 placements
2017 - 450 projected placements - source BOPDHB

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