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National’s voluntary bonding policy redundant

25 September 2008

National’s voluntary bonding policy redundant

Current government policies already provide incentives for doctors to stay in New Zealand making National’s policy of voluntary bonding for graduate doctors redundant, Tertiary Education Minister Pete Hodgson said today.

“Firstly, we have in place a range of bonded scholarships. Last year 135 trainee doctors took up a Bonded Merit Scholarship,” he said.

“More bonded scholarships are being made available. In 2009 more than 2000 bonded academic scholarships will be available to students. Those who receive them are bonded to remain in New Zealand for up to four years after graduation. “

Pete Hodgson said that furthermore, a number of DHBs paid junior doctors bonuses above and beyond what urban counterparts are paid.

“A look at the Southland DHB website shows it already pays junior doctors an extra $3000.”

Pete Hodgson said the Labour-led government had recognised that by its nature rural medical work could be very demanding.

“Often young doctors chose not to work in remote areas because they have limited experience in such practice. Part of the reason the government increased undergraduate medical funding in December 2006 by over 50% was to fund medical students to be trained in total immersion in rural and regional settings.

“The significance of this is that graduate doctors will be more inclined to work in these areas because they want to, rather than because they are obliged to. “

ENDS

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