Health Minister Andrew Little’s announcement today that the Government is putting more money into GP training is a significant step in the right direction towards getting more doctors to specialize in general practice.
Coming into effect in 2023, the Government will fund three initiatives that were developed by The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners.
- First year College-employed GP registrars will receive increased salaries to bring them more into alignment with what other specialist registrars get paid.
- Specialist GPs undertaking on-the-job training of registrars will receive more funded teaching time to dedicate to first year registrars.
- General practices hosting post-graduate doctors undertaking community-based attachments will receive a weekly hosting fee. Right now, practices receive no financial recognition for time spent training interns.
Lynne Hayman, Chief Executive of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners says, “The College has been proactively suggesting solutions to mitigate the specialist GP workforce shortage, and we are absolutely delighted that some relief is coming.
“Attracting more doctors to choose general practice is essential for providing medical care in the community.”
Growing the general practice workforce continues to be a priority for the College who have been advocating strongly about workforce issues for some time. Advocacy work to government includes the urgency to address pay parity between doctors training to become specialist general practitioners versus other medical specialties and providing practical solutions to value the important mahi specialist GPs provide as on-the-job training for our registrars and trainees.
College President Dr Samantha Murton says, “This extra funding recognizes the hard work that goes into training our next generation of specialist GPs.
“Growing our general practitioner workforce is essential to providing complex medical care in the community and needs to happen to ease the pressure on our current specialist GPs.
“These positive steps provide some immediate support to the sector but there is more that needs to be done. In New Zealand, 90 percent of medical care happens in the community and if that workforce is not strengthened, we will continue to see other parts of the health system overwhelmed at much higher cost,” says Dr Murton.
The College continues to work with Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora on other initiatives including rural hospital medicine and improving health equity for all New Zealanders.