Volume 95, Issue 41

Wednesday, November 14, 2001
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Embattled head soph speaks

USC bails out SSSC

W-kids battle WIN in "pimping" showdown

Legal complications of Holocaust discussed

LHSC cutbacks hurt students

Alliance rebels seize Afghan capital

Off-campus kids have guardian angels

LHSC cutbacks hurt students

By Erin Conway-Smith
Gazette Staff

Medical and nursing students at Western are concerned recent cutbacks to London Health Sciences Centre programs will harm the quality of their education.

Eighteen specialized programs – including pediatric heart surgery and heart transplants for adults and children – will be phased out over the next three years, said Margaret Nish, LHSC VP-patient care systems and a member of the steering committee, which makes recommendations to the board of directors for implementing the cutbacks.

The impact of cutbacks on patients and the London community, as well as the ramifications for undergraduate and post-graduate medical education, are of concern to medical students, said Savtaj Brar, VP-external for the Hippocratic Council, the representative group for Western medical students, in a public statement.

"The strong reputation of Western's medical training has been built by programs like the ones slated to be cut and their absence will impact the quality of teaching that students will receive in the future," the statement read.

Nursing students are concerned they will not be able to find employment in London after graduation, said Amanda Thibeault, Nursing Students' Council president.

Options for fourth-year placements have decreased due to the cuts, limiting the ability of nursing students to get training in certain areas, she added.

Western's nursing program will take LHSC cutbacks into consideration when determining academic programming, said Sue Anthony, undergraduate program chair for the department of nursing.

"It is a reality – we will have to work with it," she said.

While cuts will affect students' practical training, it is important to ensure the educational experience of nursing students is not damaged, Anthony said.

"The way in which the [cutback implementation] process was undertaken by London Health Sciences Centre was to establish what were core activities – clinically and from the educational and research perspective," said Carol Herbert, dean of the faculty of medicine and dentistry.

"In most areas, the recommendations do not affect undergraduate or post-graduate education directly," she said.

Herbert said cutbacks could indirectly result in unhappy faculty members less inclined to participate in teaching. "This is our main concern," she said.

As part of the cutbacks process, Herbert said a task force has been set up to consider educational and research implications.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001