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Minister commits to medical workforce planning


Hon David Cunliffe
Minister of Health

6 March 2008

Minister commits to medical workforce planning

Minister of Health David Cunliffe says work is already happening to address staff shortages in the health sector and he is committed to ensuring that work accelerates.

“Workforce issues are a critical area for any health system, and I am committed to ensuring an effective national workforce strategy is progressed rapidly,” Mr Cunliffe said.

"I applaud the work that the health unions, the DHBs, the Ministry of Health, professional groups and educators have already done to be prepared for the future. Our collective efforts to train, recruit and retain staff are essential to ensuring good health outcomes for every New Zealander," Mr Cunliffe said.

- In November this year an extra 40 young doctors will graduate from medical school and increased investment means a further 40 new students are starting as medical students this year.

- Future increases and changes to medical training will be planned by the Medical Training Board, established November last year.

- Medical Council data show that the number of active doctors increased from 8,615 to 9,547 in the last year.

- Funding has been increased to help prepare overseas trained doctors for local practice. The number of training places for general practitioners nearly doubled this year.

- DHBs and the Resident Doctors Association have agreed to work together to ensure there is a sustainable workforce of junior doctors. Senior doctors' contracts now include significantly more time for non-clinical activities such as working to ensure quality and safety. New clinical boards have been established in all DHBs to ensure full involvement of clinicians in processes around policies and standards.

- Programmes are in place in all DHBs to help new graduate nurses enter practice and in the future these will be rolled out to primary health, aged and residential care services.
- New midwives are now receiving mentoring support to help retain them in their new practices and there is particular support in rural areas.
- There are new training programmes for radiation therapists and for nurses, doctors and technicians providing treatment for patients with cancer.
"There is great deal happening and I intend ensure a strategic approach encompassing the entire workforce health workforce continues.”

ENDS

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