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Punishing changes will add to exodus

Punishing changes will add to exodus

Current recruitment and retention difficulties in general practice can only be worsened by punitive Ministry of Health proposals surrounding the July 1 rollout of the 45-64 year old patient subsidies, the College of GPs believes.

For general practice to be sustainable over time, there must be confidence in the level and surety of resourcing. College president Dr Jonathan Fox said.

The Ministry must stop trying to change the rules every year. The overall goal of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners is to improve the health of all New Zealanders through high quality general practice care, and it would not usually comment on contractual matters, but the College feels so strongly that the proposed conditions are of such fundamental importance to the viability of general practice that it stands beside the other GP organisations in this matter.

Our members are overwhelmingly supportive of the College's stance, said College president Dr Jonathan Fox. General Practice Leaders Forum and the Ministry agreed a process of review last year where fees increases were above guidelines. The Forum continues to support that process.

Now the Ministry has chosen to unilaterally impose punitive conditions, The College has previously reported that many GPs are considering leaving general practice, and this action by the Ministry will add to the exodus.

Dr Fox said there were no historical reasons for the Ministry action, with general practice passing on all increases, including others from government funders like ACC. Ultimately, Dr Fox warned, the patient will be the one who suffers.


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