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NZMA Welcomes Costing Report

MEDIA RELEASE TO:


All Health Reporters/Chief Executives/Press Officers

FROM: Dr Tricia Briscoe, NZMA GP Council Chairman

DATE: Monday, 18 February 2002

SUBJECT: NZMA welcomes costing report

The New Zealand Medical Association says a motivated viable general practice sector is needed to support the aims of the Government's Primary Healthcare Strategy.

The NZMA has welcomed the report prepared for the Independent Practitioner Association Council (IPAC), Sustainable Costing of General Practice Medical & Accident Services, which provides information which may help GPs run their businesses in a more viable way.

"The NZMA, along with many other organisations, generally supports the aims of the Primary Healthcare Strategy, which have the potential to improve the health of New Zealanders. For the Strategy to be successful it is important that GPs, who deliver a very high percentage of primary care, are working from a sustainable base," said Dr Tricia Briscoe, who heads the NZMA's General Practitioner Council.

The report provides a valuable toolkit for GPs to calculate the costs associated with their businesses, and how much they would have to charge to earn particular levels of income. GPs will now be able to use this information in the running of their business.

It also identifies the high levels of compliance costs faced by GPs. If these were reduced, it would take pressure off GP incomes.

"Given their lengthy training, both before and after graduation, their responsibility for providing a high quality service, and the fact that GPs take the risk of running their own business, GPs should expect to earn a reasonable income," Dr Briscoe said.

"Already there are problems with GP shortages, particularly in rural areas, a lack of locums, difficulties covering after-hours rosters, an ageing workforce, and the reluctance of medical graduates to enter general practice.

"We also have anecdotal evidence that GP incomes are reducing or static. GPs need to be able to earn a reasonable income, with some relativity to other doctors, otherwise no doctors will want to become GPs," Dr Briscoe said.

General practices in New Zealand are generally privately-owned and run, unlike the NHS system in the UK where GPs receive a government salary.

ENDS


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