Job cuts at Otago will make it harder to train future doctors.

Te Hautū Kahurangi | Tertiary Education Union was dismayed to receive a management of change proposal from Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka | The University of Otago last week that, if implemented, would result in significant job losses in the School of Biomedical Sciences.

The school has been required by the Acting Health Sciences Pro-Vice Chancellor to find $7.1 million in savings, but Kaiwhakahaere | Organiser Phil Edwards says this is nonsensical given the school performs well financially and returns a high proportion of its income back to university coffers.

“This is a penny-pinching exercise that will do lasting damage to a part of the university that more than pays its way, is projected to grow its enrolments and plays an important role in training future doctors – a profession the country is desperate for more of.”

"The government’s Budget has contributed to this state of affairs, where the country is crying out for more doctors but universities do not have the funding to train them. New funding was only provided for an additional 25 doctors a year across the Otago and Auckland medical schools".

“If the proposed changes go ahead we will see fewer staff teaching a growing number of students which will put the quality of education and research at risk, which will in turn impact on future financial viability.”

“We are also deeply concerned that the proposed selection criteria, which is weighted against early career academics, will result in future shortages of people who can teach and research in this strategically vital area.”

“We call on the university to halt this review immediately and work with staff on more sensible options for addressing the university’s financial pressures.”

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Enzo Giordani
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