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Rural GP recruitment working for New Zealand

Hon Damien O’Connor
Associate Minister of Health

30 August 2005 Media Statement

Rural GP recruitment working for New Zealand

Figures released today show good news for rural GPs and their patients, says Associate Health and Rural Affairs Minister, Damien O'Connor.

The figures reveal NZLocums, the specialist rural recruitment agency funded by government and managed by the New Zealand Rural General Practice Network, is meeting 85 percent of locum requests. In addition, 20 permanent placements (one year or longer) have been made or secured so far this year.

“This is great news for rural New Zealand,” Mr O’Connor said. “Before the Labour Government made funding available for the rural locum scheme, it was almost impossible for rural GPs to take a break, even for the purpose of upskilling.

"These figures show the funding's making a real difference. Given the difficulty in recruiting GPs to rural areas, NZLocum's success in attracting around three per month to work permanently in small and often remote New Zealand towns is remarkable."

The permanent placements are in: Waihi Beach, Tauatapere/Otautau, Wanaka, Wellsford, Featherston, Murchison, Motueka, Raglan, Stratford, Otaki, Kurow, Waimate, Putaruru and Kawakawa.

A further five contracts have been signed for permanent GPs in Dannevirke, Rawene, Te Anau and Kaikohe, and negotiations for further candidates in other areas are ongoing.

NZLocums has also met 100 percent of short-term locum requests in Nelson Marlborough, West Coast, Tairawhiti and Hawke’s Bay District Health Board regions, as well as all long-term requests in Nelson/Marlborough, Canterbury and the West Coast.

"We've found that GPs rate the locums' contribution very highly, whether they're New Zealand-based locums or those coming from overseas," Mr O'Connor said.

Most permanent placements were sourced from overseas - traditionally from the UK - but increasingly from other markets. This had been achieved through the extensive marketing of rural New Zealand as a lifestyle choice.

ENDS

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