25 Feb 2010

Rural bonding scheme to be extended

12:42 pm on 25 February 2010

A voluntary bonding scheme for health graduates who agree to work in areas that are hard to staff and specialise has been extended.

The South Canterbury region and surgical nurses will now be included.

The scheme currently offers doctor and midwife graduates student loan debt write-offs or cash incentives over three to five years.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says demand for the voluntary bonding placements in the first year has far exceeded expectations.

The ministry estimated around 350 doctors, nurses and midwives would apply, but Mr Ryall says nearly 900 recent graduates are in the scheme.

Registrations for this year's intake close at the end of April.