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Rural medicine facing another setback

Rural medicine facing another setback

The critical shortage of rural and provincial GPs will only get worse if medical students no longer have the option of rural placements, says National’s Associate Health spokeswoman (Rural Health), Jo Goodhew.

She is commenting on reports that Dunedin School of Medicine can no longer afford to pay $500,000 a year to put medical students into rural placements.

Dunedin is the only medical school in New Zealand to offer rural placements.

“GP groups are united in their alarm at the growing workforce crisis. Patients in many parts of the country, particularly rural and provincial areas, cannot find a GP with whom to register their family,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“Health Minister Pete Hodgson is yet to admit there is even a GP shortage, but the problem is very real in places like Levin, Kapiti Coast, Timaru, Gisborne, and Waimate. In many provincial towns GP services are incredibly stretched.

“The Government needs to address the lack of interest in rural and provincial general practice now.

“Overseas, immersion in rural general practice for both medical students and recently graduated doctors increases the likelihood that some of those doctors will seek a career in rural general practice.

“That’s a pointer for New Zealand. It is important that rural placements continue.”


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