General practice provides real options for medical workforce
21 October 2013
General practice provides real options for medical workforce, particularly women
“We believe that our profession is very attractive to women for a number of reasons,” says Dr Tim Malloy, President of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners today.
“Being a GP has a level of flexibility that is not available to other members of the health workforce. There is the ability to work part-time and outside of the demands of the hospital system that make general practice the first choice for those seeking a more balanced lifestyle.
“There are also options in terms of income, from being a salaried worker through to a practice partner or owner.
“It’s this variety that makes general practice such an appealing choice, particularly to women as the latest MCNZ survey data shows.”
The number of women in the GP workforce has been increasing steadily, up from 35% in 1998 to 46% according to the MCNZ 2012 survey data. This is in comparison to the 41% of women in the overall medical workforce.
The same 2012 MCNZ data also shows that below the age of 50, women outnumber men in the GP workforce.
In 1998, 61% of the of the 35 to 39 year-old GPs were working at least 40 hours per week yet by 2012 this had nearly halved to 33%. This shows the greater proportion of GPs electing to work fewer than 40 hours a week.
“We know we have an aging workforce, with a greater proportion of our practising GPs in their 50s,” says Dr Malloy, “and we want more doctors to choose general practice.
“We have been tuning the College’s activities to improve general practice for prospective GPs, through such initiatives as the employment of GPEP (General Practice Education Programme) Year 1 registrars.
"We are also actively recruiting new registrars and developing a recruitment and retention strategy, so we can both attract greater numbers of new GPs and address the shortfall with our existing workforce.”