8 Nov 2006

Cooks government to probe new medical school

8:03 pm on 8 November 2006

The Cook Islands government has asked for an independent investigation into the South Pacific Medical School in Rarotonga.

Since the school opened in May, it has been surrounded by controversy over staffing and facilities.

A spokesperson for the government, Trevor Pitt, says the cabinet is asking the board to re-submit its proposals with a more realistic view.

"The prime minister is currently waiting a response back from the medical school in terms of a review which he has requested from Dr Robert Woonton who has been engaged by the school and until that comments come back to the pm there is not likely to be any recognition at this stage."

Dr Woonton says he is currently compiling an independent report with the support of some medical doctors, which he will present to the prime minister this week.

He says the government will then decide if the school will be formally recognised.

But the lawyer representing the school, Norman George, says the government's move is unfair.