Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says an incentive scheme that attracts new doctors to roles in rural and remote locations that have been traditionally hard-to-staff is making a real difference.
“It’s important that health facilities around the country are well equipped to provide New Zealanders with the treatment that they need, when and where they need it,” says Dr Coleman.
“This year, 39 new graduate doctors and 19 GP trainees registered for the Government’s Voluntary Bonding Scheme which will see them work in communities that find it hard to attract doctors.
“Over half of these new graduate doctors have indicated that they intend to work as a rural GP once they finish their three year training requirement, and around 40 percent have set their sights on rural hospital medicine as a career.
“This means more New Zealanders will get the treatment they need, closer to home, no matter where they live.
“There are a high number of medical graduate registrations for Taranaki and Tairawhiti District Health Board (DHB) areas which have low numbers of doctors per head of population.”
Those on the scheme receive three annual payments after a bonded period of three years, to help repay their student loan, or as top-up income.
A total of 364 health professionals have registered to take part in the 2017 intake. This includes 58 doctors, 242 nurses, 53 midwives, six sonographers and five dentists.
As at 30 April 2017, 4228 people had registered for the scheme since it began in 2009 and $34.8 million has been paid out to eligible participants.