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Labour's head in sand on GP crisis

Hon. Tony Ryall MP
National Party Health spokesman
19 March 2006

Labour's head in sand on GP crisis

New Zealand needs to train more doctors if we are to secure a healthy future, says National's Health spokesman, Tony Ryall.

Commenting on the Royal College of GPs survey of doctor intentions released at midnight, Mr Ryall says the Labour Government appears to have given up on trying to avert the growing GP crisis.

"The College's survey should worry people because it is telling the Government that very soon there will be even more Kiwis unable to get access to a GP.

"New Zealand must be the biggest importer of foreign doctors in the world, with 35% of our medical workforce trained overseas.

"The answer is for New Zealand to train more GPs and encourage self-employed GP practices.

"This research suggests that the GPs with the least negative outlook are those who've been in full-time self-employed general practice for some time. We should build on that finding and shape policy that supports this.

"And it's good for patients: self-employed general practice means people are more likely to have a long-term association with one GP.

"However, this is all at risk if Labour continues ignoring this very real crisis," says Mr Ryall.

Ends


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