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Not another committee on the health workforce

Tony Ryall MP
National Party Health Spokesman

26 March 2008

Not another committee on the health workforce

National Party Health spokesman Tony Ryall is welcoming the provisional pay settlement with senior doctors, but questioning the value of yet another Labour Government committee to deal with pay issues.

“With its army of bureaucrats, Labour has produced at least 43 reports on the health workforce since 2000. No one seriously believes this will all be fixed by yet another report!

"This new committee is Labour’s admission of complete and utter failure. This Government has had nine years to deal with the growing staff shortages in our public hospitals and GP clinics, and all they have come up with is another committee.

“Labour has squandered the opportunity provided by the extra $5 billion a year put into the health system. Instead of supporting the front line, that money has gone on endless bureaucracy, strategies, visions and project managers.

“National has been raising frontline workforce issues for years, and although a pay settlement has been reached, it is only part of what’s needed for a long term answer.

“We need to re-engage the health professionals in the running of our hospitals. If we can make our health system a more satisfying career, we will be able to build a stronger workforce.

“We should consider bonding medical graduates to work in hard-to-staff areas in return for student loan concessions. By paying for more of their education we could ensure that young doctors stay in New Zealand where they’re needed, for longer

“And we should be making medical training a priority. We should look at increasing the number of funded medical student places on offer at New Zealand universities with an increased focus on more training in rural and provincial areas.

“Overseas experience shows that medical graduates with substantial training and exposure in rural and provincial areas are much more likely to return to work in such areas.

“National is committed to delivering fresh thinking in health to ensure all Kiwis have good access to world-class healthcare,” says Mr Ryall.


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