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Developing the future medical workforce

30 September 2008

Developing the future medical workforce

New Zealand should be training more doctors as part of a wider approach to meeting the changing and growing needs of our health system.

The Medical Training Board is suggesting medical schools create an extra 100 places over the next four years, although Chair Len Cook says this is one part of a complex response to meet the country?s future medical workforce needs.

?The focus of the MTB is predominantly how we train doctors, but ensuring we have enough of them in 25-30 years means there are many other factors to consider relating to how they are employed and work.

?We need to better coordinate training in universities and hospitals, and we need to make sure that training is matched with evolving models of patient care, especially the move to clinical networks and the focus on primary health.?

Mr Cook says keeping more of the doctors we train is also important. ?If we were able to keep one out of every five doctors currently leaving the workforce, we would gain the equivalent of an extra medical school year intake every 15 years.

?That involves looking at how our doctors are employed and making sure they have opportunities to grow and develop professionally.?

The MTB says its work sits alongside a great variety of initiatives aimed at giving our health service a greater capacity to respond to changing needs. ?Our proposals involve the training of the workforce that will deliver those services and we believe they have significant consequences for the future quality and adaptability of New Zealand?s health service.?

The MTB has produced recommendations and three discussion papers and will consult widely over the next three to six months before developing firm recommendations early next year.

?We hope our work will be the catalyst for the healthy debate needed to ensure we have a robust, flexible, integrated medical training system to meet the future workforce needs.?


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