|A history of undergraduate medical education in Wellington|
There is reference to the admission of medical students to the hospital as early as 1882. Minutes of the Wellington City Council dated 6/2/1882 include a report from the Hospital Subcommittee which stated
"The committee report that they have carefully considered the question of admission to the hospital of medical students, and
recommend that they be admitted on the following conditions:
How many, if any students enrolled is unclear. Although Otago Medical School began accepting students in 1875, for the first eight years it offered a two-year course only. It was not until 1887 that the first student graduated from the Otago School.
On 20/2/1913 Dr Randal Woodhouse (acting Medical Superintendent) was requested by the Board to inform the Dean of the Medical Faculty of Otago University that the scheme for some senior students to attend Wellington Hospital for clinical experience was approved. In February 1914, a fifth-year medical student was appointed as a clinical clerk. In March 1915 the Medical Superintendent advised the Board that the admission of medical students to the hospital had been the subject of discussions between he and the honorary medical staff, and that they had "agreed to cooperate".
Wellington Hospital was officially recognised as a teaching hospital for final year students in 1926, and the Hospital Board agreed to provide accommodation for the students. The Wellington Branch Faculty of Medicine (University of Otago) was formally established in 1937 and Dr John Cairney was appointed as the first sub-Dean. Dr Cairney was followed in this role by Dr John Mercer (1944 - 1961), Dr John Keeling (1961 - 1965), Dr John McCreanor (1965 - 1966; acting) and Dr Guy Hallwright (1966 - 1971).
There was a progressive increase in numbers of final year medical students in the post-war years. In 1953 the Faculty in Dunedin asked the Hospital Board to set up a 30-bed Medical Unit at Wellington Hospital, to be headed by a wholetime physician to lead medical teaching and research in Wellington. It was not until 1959 that the Wellington Medical Unit was established, with Dr Ian Prior as its first head, but with only 12 beds. Dr Ken North succeeded Ian Prior as Medical Unit Head (1970 - 1972), having acted in that role in 1964 during one of Ian Prior's epidemiology trips to the Pacific.
Talk of having a full Medical School in Wellington was first referred to in 1942 and again in 1952. (Approval for a Medical School in Auckland was given in 1953). Toward the end of 1965, the Wellington Hospital Medical Staff resolved to form a committee to "consider the future of Wellington as a regional medical centre and teaching hospital". Subsequently there was a move to gain approval for a Third Medical School based in Wellington in association with Victoria University, but in the end the decision adopted was for a Clinical School associated with the Medical Faculty of Otago University. This was a joint undertaking of the Wellington Hospital Board and the University of Otago, and the proposal was that a majority of the senior academic staff would have joint appointments.
Professor Frank Hall was appointed the foundation Dean of the Wellington Clinical School in 1971. He was succeeded by Brian Corkill as acting Dean in 1974, and in 1977 Professor Ralph Johnson was appointed Dean. He was succeeded in turn by Professor Tom O'Donnell (1986 - 1992), Professor Eru Pomare (1992 - 1995), Professor Linda Holloway (1995 - 1998), Professor John Nacey (1998 - 2007), Professor Peter Crampton (2007 - 2011), and by Professor Sunny Collings (2011 - current).
The first intake of fourth-year students occurred in 1977, though the School was not officially opened until September
1979 following the completion of the academic building. Between 1973 and 1977, the following Heads of Departments
Each department gradually built up its teaching staff of Lecturers and Senior Lecturers, and with the exception of Community Health, these staff typically had dual responsibilities within the School and the Hospital. In addition, a number of hospital clinicians were employed on sessional basis as Clinical Lecturers to supplement the teaching staff. (I have not attempted to list all Clinical Lecturers in this section)