Medical and dentistry students get reprieve under Labour

A Labour Government will restore the right of medical and dentistry students to get student loans after seven years of study because it is the right thing to do, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Maryan Street says.

“Hard on the heels of our health policy announced earlier this week, I am pleased to announce that Labour would scrap National’s restriction on access to student loans for medical and dentistry students.

“The development of a strong and effective health workforce must be supported if New Zealand is to have a world-class health system. That means removing barriers that stop high-calibre people joining the workforce, beginning with the training of doctors and dentists.

“National imposed a restriction on medical and dentistry students so that they could not access student loans after seven years of study. These are very long and expensive courses of training and anything can interrupt them. Making it harder for medical and dentistry students to complete their studies made no sense to us.

“The full fiscal impact of this reprieve is estimated at $230,000 a year, which makes you wonder why Steven Joyce thought this was a good idea. This is penny-pinching of the worst sort.

“If we want to cater for the demographic changes coming in healthcare, we will need more doctors and dentists. We should be encouraging them to complete their studies, not making it harder for them,” Maryan Street says.