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The more Labour talks, the more GPs leave

Hon Tony Ryall MP
National Party Health Spokesman

Jo Goodhew MP
National Party Associate Health Spokeswoman

19 July 2006

The more Labour talks, the more GPs leave

Kiwi families will find themselves languishing on a waiting list to see their GP if the Labour Government doesn’t take action now, say National MPs Tony Ryall and Jo Goodhew.

“The more Labour talks and compiles reports, the more GPs close up shop,” says Mr Ryall, National’s Health spokesman.

In Parliament today, Health Minister Pete Hodgson denied there was a GP crisis despite thousands of New Zealanders being unable to register with a GP.

“There are fewer GPs in New Zealand today than six years ago,” says Mr Ryall.

“The latest information from the Ministry of Health shows the number of GPs hit a record high in 1999. Since then, the number has fallen.

“In September 1999, Annette King called for more action to retain GPs. During her six years as Health Minister she commissioned report after report after report, and the number of GPs fell year after year after year.

“At this rate, New Zealanders will end up on a waiting list of some days to get an appointment with their GP,” says Mr Ryall.

Associate Health spokeswoman Jo Goodhew says the Minister is convinced there are enough GPs and there is ‘useful progress on health workforce issues’.

“In my experience there are significant shortages in many parts of the country, including Gisborne, Timaru, Blenheim and Kapiti Coast.

“I know that Twizel and Waimate have been unable to attract replacement GPs. In Waimate, 1,900 patients are still waiting anxiously for a replacement GP.

“Pete Hodgson continues to receive advice about how to address this problem in the long term, but insists on keeping his head in the sand,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“What’s needed is for the Government to ditch all the reports and take action – increase the number of GPs being trained, encourage a much stronger rural component to training, cut back on bureaucracy, and cut taxes,” say the MPs.

ENDS

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