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National Hauora Coalition Calls For More Fundamental Solutions To Our GP Shortage

Recent media has highlighted the apparent shortage of General Practice (GP) doctors in Aotearoa and the requirement of GPs to pay the cost of managed isolation for any overseas recruits. In response, National Hauora Coalition (NHC) Chief Executive, Simon Royal, has commented that “whilst our own clinics are experiencing first-hand the challenges associated from these shortages, we believe this is symptomatic of bigger issues within our health system which should be the priority focus – namely the underinvestment to date in developing our own population as medical practitioners. We do not have a medical workforce that is representative of our population and we do not see how having more non-indigenous GPs from overseas will help that.” Currently Māori make up 15.8% of Aotearoa’s population, yet are only 3% of GPs. Note that this is not taking into account future demographic shifts with 22% of Aotearoa’s under 25 population being Māori or that 29% of all births being Māori.

In addition, Mr Royal noted, “the answers to these challenges must lie at home, not overseas. There are real opportunities for large employers such as DHBs to increase the diversity of their workforce. Not a single DHB in Aotearoa has the same percentage of Māori employed as compared to their local population. Nationally it is 7.9% compared to a Māori population of 15.8%. By employing more Māori, DHBs can directly contribute to local Māori employment rates, providing more economic benefit and in turn show real commitment to closing the equity gap between Māori and non- Māori.”

Finally, Mr Royal added, “we do not support initiatives that reinforce the current GP centric model of care. NHC are actively promoting models of care that address equity such as nurse-led clinics with nurse practitioners that can provide a full range of clinical services. GP models do not address equity due to a mix of affordability and accessibility and we believe are now increasingly outdated with the move to tele or e-health”.

About National Hauora Coalition

The NHC kaupapa is mana whānau, whānau ora and is a lead advocate for hauora Māori (Wai 2687) through the Waitangi Tribunal Health Services Kaupapa Inquiry (Wai 2575). In its day to day activities NHC partners with a wide range of agencies, Iwi and industry groups to commission and deliver a broad range of indigenously designed health and social services to improve health outcomes for Māori, achieve health equity and greater social cohesion for the benefit of Aotearoa.

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