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Hodgson welcomes GP report

20 March 2006
Media Statement

Hodgson welcomes GP report

A report published by the College of General Practitioners is a welcome addition to the growing body of health workforce studies, Health Minister Pete Hodgson said today.

The report – the second in the College's workforce series – shows that many GPs are considering changes to their work arrangements.

"General Practitioners are key partners in the government's work to make quality primary health care available and affordable for all New Zealand families," Pete Hodgson said. "Any insight into the future work intention of GPs will provide welcome guidance for the continuing rollout of the Primary Health Care Strategy.

"Much of the report reinforces trends that have emerged in recent years. We've been hearing for some time that GPs are less enthusiastic about owning their own businesses and are increasingly likely to opt for salaried practice and to move to subspecialties.

"The College has provided a genuinely fresh insight into the retirement intentions of GPs. Six per cent – or around 25 per year – of the GPs surveyed by the College plan to retire in the next five years. We'll need to consider the implications of this finding against the growing popularity of GP training – around 140 doctors are entering the general practice field every year.

"In terms of remuneration, we already know that the net median profit for general practices increased by 20-23 per cent between 2000 and 2004. I'll look forward to further College reports to see how trends in remuneration track in the future."

The report concludes with four recommendations to the Minister, covering a range of issues including the need for greater teamwork within general practice. Pete Hodgson said the recommendations will all be considered through the continuing implementation of the Primary Health Care Strategy (PHCS).

"The strategy's success means we now have growing flexibility and teamwork within the primary health sector. This means that more and more, GPs are able to get on with doing what GPs do best – caring for their patients.

"I'm pleased that the College of GPs has already signalled their desire to work through their challenges as part of the wider work to implement the PHCS."

ENDS

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