19 Dec 2014

GPs kept on skills shortage list

7:40 am on 19 December 2014

Rural doctors say a decision to keep general practitioners on the country's Long-Term Skills Shortage List is just common sense.

The Rural General Practice Network says the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has completed its latest review of skill needs and opted to retain GPs on it.

Network chairman and Opotiki GP Jo Scott-Jones said that was sensible, because 20 percent of the 190 rural general practices have GP vacancies.

Vacancy rates have improved slightly, from about 24 or 25 percent several years ago, he said.

"But it's not really changing and the majority of people working in rural general practice are overseas medical graduates.

"We need to still have that opportunity of bringing that workforce in to address our immediate needs, whilst we're going through this process of trying to encourage more people to choose general practice as a career in New Zealand."

Dr Scott-Jones said he was happy for the matter to be reviewed every two or three years, but was pleased with the result.

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