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NZ GP Workforce Report Released

New Zealand Medical Students’ Association

On the Analysis of the New Zealand General Practitioner Workforce, a report by the NZMA released 6th May 2004.

“General practice is not an attractive option for New Zealand’s medical graduates, who cite debt and financial reasons as major motivators in their career choices,” says Jess Allen, President of the New Zealand Medical Students’ Association.

“The recent analysis of our GP workforce by the New Zealand Medical Association highlights the problems of declining GP numbers, an aging GP population, and an increased reliance on foreign trained doctors in our general practices. High levels of student debt, stress in the workplace, insufficient pay and increased administration costs are all reasons that put our young doctors off,” Ms Allen said.

“Rural General Practice is particularly struggling to retain and recruit new doctors. This need has seen the government approve an additional 40 places in our medical schools for students from a rural background. Funding has also been approved to have 3 months of rural health exposure brought into the curriculum to encourage students to consider a career in rural medicine. These changes are encouraging, but will take time before they see useful results.”

“It is accepted that New Zealand trained doctors are the most appropriate for our population. We therefore need the government take action to keep our young doctors in NZ and to recruit them to General Practice. Traditionally, General Practice has been an attractive lifestyle choice, however, until conditions improve significantly for GPs, medical graduates will continue to look to other specialties.”

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