23 Mar 2007

Cook Islands government pulls support for private medical school

6:11 pm on 23 March 2007

Questions over the credibility of the South Pacific School of Medicine are behind the Cook Islands government's decision to withdraw its approval of the school.

The government this week reversed its earlier support for the school based on the findings of a Ministry of Health review team led by New Zealand consultant Debbie Sorensen.

The school was set up by American Dr Larry Sands and opened last May, but now faces having its operating license revoked by the Development Investment Board.

The Board's CEO, Mark Short, says cabinet recently sought a review of the school and its planned development.

"And according to Debbie Sorensen, it didn't stack up. And that's the reason why government doesn't want to be seen to be endorsing a proposal by an operator who, they've been advised, is not credible. And I think that the school was basically wanting government's endorsement to be able to be listed or registered on the WHO list which Debbie also gives a credibility."

Mark Short