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Medical Staff Retention Not Minister's Problem

31 May 2005

Medical Staff Retention Not Minister's Problem

The Minister of Health does not consider the recruitment and retention of medical staff to be her responsibility says New Zealand First’s health spokesperson Barbara Stewart.

“When asked in a written question whether the Health Ministry was developing a nationally coordinated recruitment and retention strategy for medical staff in order to prevent future shortages, the Minister’s response was that district health boards are responsible for the recruitment and retention of health practitioners employed in public hospitals and for ensuring that health services are delivered, and will be delivered in the future, to their populations.

“This is yet another example of this Minister’s all care and no responsibility approach to health,” said Mrs Stewart.

“The recruitment and retention of medical staff should be one of the Minister’s main priorities but when faced with problems such as young doctors heading overseas for better pay and conditions, demand for medical services exceeding supply, an ageing medical workforce and the increased time spent on administration in our over-managed health system, the Minister takes the easy way out and flicks the whole lot on to the dhbs.

“However, there is one ray of light on the horizon. The Minister has established something called the Medical Reference Group of the Health Workforce Advisory Committee to advise her on strategic issues relating to the future health workforce.

“It’s to be hoped that the committee recommends that the Minister takes responsibility for what should be one of the most important aspects of her job before the situation goes from serious to critical,” said Mrs Stewart.

ENDS

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