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Labour Driving GPs To Extinction

Labour Driving GPs To Extinction

The New Zealand Medical Association's report today, showing an alarming decline in New Zealand's number of General Practitioners, confirms the deepening crisis that ACT has been predicting for some time, ACT New Zealand Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"According to NZMA figures, the ratio of GPs per 100,000 New Zealanders has dropped 10.5 percent in just four years - from 82.8 in 1998 to 74.1 in 2002," Mrs Roy said.

"The report also states that, in that period, the number of active GPs - those who identify General Practice as their main profession - has dropped 13.4 percent. All indications point to New Zealand GPs being extinct in as little as 10 years.

"This is no surprise. We all know that health professionals have become our fastest-growing export. They are over-worked, under-appreciated and under-paid - GPs' salaries have been cut, on average, by half in the past decade.

"Because of this, more and more doctors, nurses and health professionals are heading overseas in search of better pay and working conditions. I have been trying for more than a year to obtain figures to prove this, but the Government does not record them - if it did, it would have to address the problem.

"Kiwi families will soon have to have their own paediatrician, physician, obstetrician and gynaecologist, and orthopaedic surgeon - rather than having their family doctor as their first port of call. This will be Health Minister Annette King's legacy to primary healthcare in New Zealand.

"Thanks to this Government's arrogant approach to healthcare, this problem has begun to spiral out of control. This report shows that widely expressed anecdotal fears are, in fact, a reality," Mrs Roy said.

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