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Where Will The Doctors Of The Future Train?



College of General Practitioners and Universities of Auckland and Otago working to ensure doctors can train in general practice settings.

Medical students and junior doctors benefit greatly from working with patients and health workers in general practice settings.

“The ability to train doctors in general practice settings is a critical part of ensuring New Zealand can meet its future health workforce needs,” says Otago University academic Professor Peter Crampton.

The Universities of Auckland and Otago train the country’s medical students while the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners trains graduates wishing to specialise in general practice.

“The appointment of a National General Practice Clinical Placement Coordinator is a first step in the College and Universities of Auckland and Otago working together on this important issue,” Professor Crampton said.

In recent years the annual intake of medical students has increased as has the number of positions for specialist training in general practice. As the demand for training places in general practice settings has increased the availability of placement opportunities has remained static. The two Universities and the College are concerned that this trend will continue and that it will be increasingly difficult to find suitable placements for all students and junior doctors.

“We want to make sure that practices, general practitioners, junior doctors and medical students all have the best possible experience of training in general practice,“ he said.

The National Coordinator’s tasks include:

o developing a national database of practices providing clinical training,

o promoting clinical teaching in general practice, and

o supporting local coordinators in finding placement sites for individual students and junior doctors.

Based at the College’s office in Wellington, the coordinator reports to a committee representing the College and both Universities and chaired by Professor Crampton.

The committee is developing a workplan for collaboration on wider issues affecting clinical training in general practice including:

o establishing a national quality framework for under-graduate and post-graduate clinical training in general practices

o establishing a national network of clinical training practices, and

o identifying funding mechanisms to ensure clinical training in general practice settings is sustainable.

Professor Crampton said the Universities and College recognise that ensuring general practice can reach its full potential in training the future medical workforce requires national leadership, and they look forward to working closely with the health and tertiary education sectors and especially with the newly formed Medical Training Board.


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