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Students’ support call for GPs extra funding

Monday, 19 December 2005

Rural health students’ support call for increased funding for GPs

The Aotearoa Rural Health Association (ARHA) supports calls for an increase
in the number of funded general practice positions at a post-graduate level and says this should be extended to the under-graduate rural curriculum.

“As well as post-graduate GP training, the Government must address funding of an under-graduate rural curriculum, which exposes medical students to a positive experience in general practice,” said James Johnston, President of the Aotearoa Rural Health Apprentices (ARHA). “This will help attract medical students to careers in rural general practice and go some way to alleviating the chronic shortage of rural GPs.”

ARHA and other organisations have being lobbying government for funding of a rural curriculum for all medical students, which would mostly be in the general practice setting. At present only the Dunedin School of Medicine provides rural under-graduate training.

"If students are to consider being GPs they need to experience being a GP. Currently most students spend very little time experiencing medicine in a primary care setting (rural or urban),” said Mr Johnston. “Rural general practice in particular is complex and diverse in the skills required and the settings those skills are applied in. This can only be appreciated through experience.

“Money and issues around student loans are only part of the issue; the complete picture involves exposing students to positive primary care experiences so they may consider it as a career option, or at least appreciate what GPs go through.”

ENDS

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