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Health workforce planning 'paralysis by analysis'

Hon. Tony Ryall MP

National Party Health spokesman

26 May 2006

Health workforce planning 'paralysis by analysis'

Two reports out today on the staffing crisis facing the health workforce amount to "paralysis by analysis", says National's Health spokesman, Tony Ryall.
The reports, one from the Ministry of Health and the other from the Health Workforce Advisory Committee, say New Zealand is losing its health workforce to Australia.

"It's time Labour stopped wasting money on endless reports and actually started fixing the problem. Pete Hodgson's talk of yet another committee is hopeless.
"Qualified people are being driven out of New Zealand. The shortage of GPs will affect patients in ways we dare not imagine - it is only a matter of time before many Kiwis don't have a GP at all," Mr Ryall told a GPs conference in Rotorua this morning.
"Without urgent action, patients will end up on a new waiting list - to see a GP.
"New Zealanders would be horrified to know that in Britain it is Tony Blair's dream for patients to see a GP within 48 hours. We don't want that in New Zealand.

"Already there are hundreds of people on the Kapiti Coast who have no GP. Last week newspapers reported that families in two provincial cities could not enrol in a GP practice. Newspapers have also reported GPs wanting to pull out of providing after-hours care.

"Labour have known about the workforce crisis for years but decided to waste money and time on endless reports stating the obvious.
"National says we need to enable our medical schools to train more doctors for careers in local communities and rural areas. All the evidence shows that the more GPs you have, the healthier your community.

"National's policy is also to encourage DHBs to offer student loan write-offs for health graduates working in designated hard-to-staff provincial and rural areas.

"Coupled with personal tax cuts, these are real incentives to grow and retain our GP workforce," says Mr Ryall.

ENDS

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