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Psychiatrist Case Highlights Recruitment Problems

“Psychiatrist Case Highlights Specialist Recruitment Problems”

“The continuing controversy associated with Dr Peter Fisher highlights New Zealand’s increasing difficulties in recruiting specialist doctors,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today. Dr Fisher was a non-specialist doctor previously working in Southland’s mental health service.

“Aside from the personal tragedies associated with this case, the controversy highlights the serious and worsening problem over New Zealand’s inability to recruit enough permanent specialist doctors. Instead we are forced to rely on unsatisfactory levels of temporary and less trained alternatives along with specialist shortages.”

“Mental health is bedevilled with this problem throughout New Zealand. It is not just a Southland problem. But while this problem is most serious in mental health, several other specialties are also currently facing serious difficulties. The biggest losers are patients who run the risks associated with reduced continuity of care, less well trained doctors, and reduced access to quality services.”

“If district health boards and the government are seriously about overcoming this growing problem then they should be willing to negotiate national conditions of employment that are internationally competitive,” concluded Mr Powell.

Ian Powell


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