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Budget could kill momentum for primary care

Media Release from the Royal New Zealand College of GPs

22 May 2008

Budget could kill momentum for primary care

Contrary to its releases, the Government is offering no increases in training numbers in general practice, says College of GPs’ president Dr Jonathan Fox.

“We already have 104 training places for this year, which was a return to the GP training numbers of the 1990s.”

The College of GPs notes the additional spending in health, particularly the $20 million per year for the next four years for the further implementation of the Primary Health Care Strategy.

“There are some interesting initiatives, many of which will impact general practices,” the president of the College, Dr Jonathan Fox acknowledged..

“But they have held the training numbers for next year at this year’s level, when the CTA review had recommended a further 50 percent increase to about 150.

“This risks killing the momentum.”

The Labour Government had previously indicated agreement to a work stream that would alleviate the shortage of GP numbers over time, and provided the first two instalments. Now it has stopped dead.

Dr Fox said it was ironic that Health Minister David Cunliffe’s first emphasis is on ‘strengthening health services we can trust for future proofing health services for population growth.’

“Yet they hold GP training numbers at a level that will not future proof general practice, nor repair the damage that has already been done to the workforce.”

ends

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