4 Jun 2015

Signs that foreign doctors staying for longer

10:30 am on 4 June 2015

Two medical recruitment agencies say foreign-trained doctors are staying in New Zealand for longer, bucking an earlier trend of quitting to return home.

Health policy research by the University of Otago shows half the doctors from North America and Britain have been leaving after a year.

But the companies, MedRecruit and Ochre Recruitment, both said most practitioners were now settling down.

Queenstown-based Doctor Sam Hazledine - who runs MedRecruit - said less than a quarter of the foreign doctors leave after their first year in the job.

"I'd put that down to, probably a couple of things, internationally conditions have become more difficult for doctors - the UK is a bit of a mess, the US is a bit of a mess.

"But I also we've got better and better at working with those doctors to find out what they need to make that work."

Ochre Recruitment consultant Sean Hill said being upfront with candidates about New Zealand life would pay off.

"One of the big things I say to people, especially coming from the States for example, is you're not coming here for the money, if you are coming here for the money you're coming to the wrong place.

"New Zealand offers you a lot of things you potentially can't have, but if you're looking to pull in $3 million a year, that's not going to happen in New Zealand."

Mr Hill said health employers were increasingly pushing for practitioners to make long term commitments and will turn down those only wanting to do short stints - because it slows down turnover and keeps costs down.

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