Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

NZMA calls for urgent workforce action


NZMA calls for urgent workforce action

A Medical Council survey released this week highlights the urgent need for action to prevent a crisis in the New Zealand medical workforce.

Among other things, the survey reveals:

* Fewer New Zealand-trained medical graduates are staying in New Zealand. * Limited growth in the number of general practitioners over the last three years. * Relatively low retention rates for new vocational registrants in some branches of medicine, including psychological medicine and psychiatry, emergency medicine and pathology.

"The survey confirms our fears about a 'brain drain' of medical professionals out of New Zealand," said NZMA Chairman Dr Pippa MacKay. "Not only is New Zealand a thriving exporter of wine, fashion and other high quality, highly sought-after goods, but of doctors as well.

"High student debt not only encourages newly-graduated doctors to work overseas, for those who remain it affects their choice of specialty. Hospitals struggle to attract registrars in many areas. Rural and regional areas are hit particularly hard by shortages.

"For resident medical officers, low pay, excessive hours, unreasonable conditions, and the increasing need to cover staff shortfalls, now combined with high student debts, are all good reasons to start looking overseas."

A recent study of Auckland Medical School students found that the median projected debt on graduation was $60,000 to $69,999. Nearly one in ten students expected debts of more than $100,000. An earlier survey of the intentions of 6th year Otago medical students, found that 30 percent said they were considering moving overseas as soon as they finished training, while only one third said they were committed to working in New Zealand long-term.

"Doctors have always done their 'OE', but the trend now is for them to leave earlier and stay longer -- for those who actually intend to return. This makes no economic sense as the largest proportion of doctors' education is paid for by the taxpayer," Dr MacKay said.

"We acknowledge that there is a global market for health professionals, and that New Zealanders are very highly regarded. Other countries, such as Britain and Canada, also face doctor shortages and are prepared to pay highly to attract staff."

The Government has announced the establishment of a Health Workforce Advisory Committee, and its membership is expected to be announced this month.

"This Committee needs to find solutions to some of the serious problems facing New Zealand's health workforce. Given the magnitude of the problem, the inevitably disparate membership of the committee, and the paucity of funding provided, it will face a difficult task. In the meantime, there has been no specific funding to provide urgently needed support for the health workforce, such as to help medical students, address the shortage of junior doctors in our hospitals, and stop the exodus of New Zealand-trained doctors overseas."

The NZMA has strongly urged the Government to take responsibility for this issue. It is a national problem, and not just one for underfunded District Health Boards.

"If the Government cannot afford to match international salaries, it must work with the medical profession to find practical and innovative ways to solve the problems. Our health system and our patients deserve the very best that we can contribute," Dr MacKay concluded.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Veronika Meduna: The Kaikoura Rebuild

A Scoop Foundation Investigation

Friday will be a big day for people north of Kaikōura – and for hundreds of construction workers who are racing to reopen State Highway 1 in time for the holiday season.

By the afternoon, the South Island’s main transport corridor will be open to traffic again, more than a year after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake mangled bridges and tunnels, twisted rail tracks and buried sections of the road under massive landslides. More>>

 

BPS HYEFU WYSIWYG: Labour's Budget Plans, Families Package

“Today we are announcing the full details of the Government’s Families Package. This is paid for by rejecting National’s tax cuts and instead targeting spending at those who need it most. It will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2021." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Defence Spending, Alabama, And Dolly Parton

The spending lavished on Defence projects to meet the risks that could maybe, possibly, theoretically face New Zealand in future is breath-taking, given how successive governments have been reluctant to spend even a fraction of those amounts on the nation’s actual social needs. More>>

ALSO:

Members' Bills: End Of Life Choice Bill Passes First Reading

The End of Life Choice Bill in the name of David Seymour has been sent to a select committee for consideration by 76 votes to 44. It is the third time Parliament has voted on the issue in recent decades and the first time such a Bill has made it over the first hurdle. More>>

ALSO:

State Sector: MPI Survives Defrag Of Portfolios

The Ministry for Primary Industries will not be split under the new government, but will instead serve as an overarching body for four portfolio-based entities focused on fisheries, forestry, biosecurity and food safety. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Vulnerable Kids, RNZ Funding, And Poppy

The decision to remove the word ‘vulnerable’ from the Ministry for Vulnerable Children could well mark a whole shift in approach to the care of children in need... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages