Plan for big boost in GP training numbers

More support is being given to New Zealand medical graduates training to be GPs, as the Government continues its push to get more doctors into communities.

“Growing the number of GPs is vital so we can fill today’s gaps and make sure we’ve got the doctors we need in the future, so finding different ways of providing training is essential,” Health Minister Andrew Little said in Auckland today.

“In August, as part of a wider health workforce announcement, I said we would increase from 200 to 300 the number of GPs trained in New Zealand each year.

“Today, I’m pleased to confirm that, after discussions with the Royal College of General Practitioners, measures are being put in place to do that.

The package will see doctors who choose to train as GPs paid as much as their hospital counterparts.

“A review published today shows that the fact trainee GPs are paid less than registrars working in hospitals is the biggest barrier to young doctors going into general practice,” Andrew Little said.

“That pay gap will be closed, to bring the pay of first-year GP registrars in line with that of hospital registrars.

“Funding is also being increased to enable the Royal College to pay teaching supervisors for an extra two-and-a-half hours a week, and GPs who host 12-week community training modules will be paid hosting fees of $3600.

“Together with the things already under way to make it easier for overseas-trained doctors to come to New Zealand and get registered and practising, these measures will increase the number of GPs working in our communities to keep New Zealanders healthy and out of hospital.”

Andrew Little outlined the moves during a visit to the Baderdrive Doctors GP clinic in South Auckland to talk about the practicalities of convincing more young doctors to specialise in general practice.

Editor’s notes:

  • The Review of General Practitioner Education Programme Training Funding will be available on the Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand website after today’s event.
  • Salary increases will be between 13 per cent and 23 per cent, depending on which year of training the junior doctor is in.
  • More than 1000 healthcare workers have applied to work in New Zealand under new immigration settings that came into effect in July.