30 December 2008
THE AUCKLAND TELEPAEDIATRICS PROGRAMME
The paper –‘Living in the country and studying in the city. . . .’ (Grant et al., 2008: 44: 536–47) is a testament to the excellence of the Auckland telepaediatrics programme. Although it would be flattering to think otherwise, I agree with David Isaacs' editorial that the Bledisloe-like performance of New Zealand trainees in the written first part of the RACP examination is probably not because of increased native intelligence.
However, there are other differences which may be contributory to differential trans-Tasman exam performance. The New Zealand medical schools have maintained a high level of basic science in their undergraduate curricula unlike most Australian medical schools which have allowed the cornerstones of medicine to erode. In the case of the University of Otago and independent of exams, the medical school assesses core knowledge and its accrual year by year. This stands trainees in good stead for their early postgraduate years.
Secondly, I suspect that Australian trainees either by dint of multiculturalism or by cohort size are more of a diaspora and their undergraduate training may vary considerably. It would be very interesting with the Australian cohort to trace success or otherwise to point of origin, that is, individual Australian medical schools or offshore institutions. If we can identify subgroups that may need more assistance, we might be able to tailor our educational programmes accordingly.