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Concern at ophthalmologist workforce shortages

Concern at ophthalmologist workforce shortages -- RANZCO

The New Zealand Branch of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) has expressed concern about recently highlighted shortages of ophthalmologists in Dunedin and elsewhere in New Zealand.

There are currently 16 unfilled public hospital vacancies nationally for ophthalmologists, says RANZCO NZ Chairman Dr Jim Stewart, who is attending the Pan Professional Medical Forum Workforce Summit today.

"This national shortage of ophthalmologists is not due to a reduction in the numbers of specialists being trained, except temporarily in Dunedin where trainee numbers have had to be reduced because of the shortage of consultant ophthalmologists," he said.

"The College wishes to establish more training posts and has done the preparatory work for this, but new positions are dependant on the funding of salaries, and provision of clinic space and operating theatre time in our public hospitals.

"We have a steady loss of New Zealand-trained ophthalmologists to Australia, where they can earn twice as much," he said. "For instance, there have been recent departures from Auckland, Palmerston North and Timaru."


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