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Ministry's Head in the Sand Over GP Shortages

Ministry's Head in the Sand Over GP Shortages - NZMA

12 December 2005

The reported response of a Ministry spokesman to the GP workforce paper, released by the Royal New Zealand College of GPs today, shows that the Ministry of Health has its head in the sand and is underplaying medical workforce shortages, says NZMA Chairman Dr Ross Boswell.

"The Ministry states that the report is looking at 'well into the future' scenarios but in fact the paper outlines present shortages facing the GP workforce and warns that these shortages will only worsen if action is not taken to rectify the situation," says Dr Boswell.

The NZMA is disappointed that the Ministry did not acknowledge the seriousness of the shortage and had referred only to the need to make greater use of nurse prescribers.

"Role substitution is only a small part of the solution to medical workforce shortages, which extend well beyond General Practice. The problems require the Government to take leadership in putting together an action plan. We need more places for medical students and greater training opportunities to encourage more students into medicine and postgraduate training. We need improved working conditions to encourage doctors to stay in practice in New Zealand and to encourage New Zealand doctors currently overseas to return," says Dr Boswell.


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