INDEPENDENT NEWS

Doctors Have Fled NZ Under Labour

Published: Fri 27 Sep 2002 02:19 PM
Doctors Have Fled NZ Under Labour
Friday 27 Sep 2002 Heather Roy Press Releases -- Health
Figures just released in the Medical Council's annual report show New Zealand doctors have fled the country since Labour came to power in 1999, ACT health spokesman Heather Roy says.
"The number of doctors registered in New Zealand has fallen since Labour took office and we are becoming increasingly reliant on overseas trained doctors.
"Between 1982 and 1999, the number of registered doctors steadily increased. But under this Labour government, the number of doctors has dropped away - from 13,372 in 1999 to just 11,934 a year later. There has been a slight recovery in 2001 and 2002 but total numbers are still below those of 1999.
"At the same time the number of overseas-trained doctors being registered by the Medical Council has skyrocketed. "In 1999, just over a quarter of doctors were overseas-trained. Today it's almost 40 percent.
"This is proof of what ACT has been saying for some time. We are training our home-grown doctors for export because working conditions and pay are more attractive overseas. We now rely heavily on overseas doctors wanting to come to New Zealand to work and live. Unfortunately, many of these doctors are only coming on a temporary basis.
"Patients are the big losers, as their continuity of care is compromised.
"The reality is, New Zealand is so short of doctors that anyone prepared to come and do a three-month stint is welcomed with open arms. This shows our desperation for medical staff in its true light. We are happy to accommodate doctors for short periods of time, even those who are using New Zealand as their back door entry to Australia.
"This state of affairs will continue unless the New Zealand economy starts growing at 4 percent-plus, which will gradually bring the country back into the top half of the OECD and enable us to pay doctors competitively with other first world nations," Mrs Roy said.
ENDS
For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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