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Gynae-Oncology Shortage Leaves Service Vulnerable



Gynae-Oncology Shortage Leaves Service Vulnerable

“A small number of highly skilled gynaecological oncologists are providing a much-needed specialist health service but they are struggling to cope due to inadequate resourcing,” says Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

“This group of medical specialists do a sterling job for women with gynaecological cancer but we really do need more of them and the service they provide needs to be better funded. The current situation is not sustainable and these specialists are at risk of burnout due to the workloads they have had to take on.”

An article in the latest issue of the ASMS magazine, The Specialist, highlights the vulnerability of the small medical sub-specialty of gynae-oncology. This can be read at

About a thousand New Zealand women a year are diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer. For a country of New Zealand’s size, it has been estimated at least 11 gynaecological oncologists are needed. Instead, New Zealand has just seven – and if any of them left, they say the service would be at risk.

Wellington has been identified as hardest hit by the shortage, with the service provided there described as particularly fragile.

Mr Powell says the shortage is part of a bigger picture of entrenched shortages in the medical specialist workforce in our public hospitals which need to be addressed.

“It would be a real shame if services such as this one ended up collapsing due to inadequate resourcing – both for the women diagnosed with gynaecological cancer each year but also for the medical specialists and other dedicated health professionals who have spent years training and working in this area. Burnout is a real concern for this group.”


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