12 Mar 2012

Call for rural health to be more accessible to young GPs

7:12 am on 12 March 2012

Rural general practitioners say the industry must become more accessible to young graduates, as an ageing health workforce threatens to reach crisis point in the next five years.

The Rural GP Network's annual conference ended in Queenstown on Sunday.

The four-day event focused on the changing face of rural health, which includes new technologies, ageing healthcare workers and new graduates.

Rural GP Network chairpreson Joseph Scott-Jones says there has been an increase in special programmes which encourage new graduates to train in rural areas.

He says those will become more important over the next few years, as many healthcare workers retire.

Dr Scott-Jones says a large number of nurses and doctors are looking to retire in the next 10 years, which could lead to a crisis.

He says the educational pathway and bonding scheme introduced by the Government to encourage people to stay in rural areas after they have graduated are helpful ways forward.