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Minister must explain plan to keep doctors in NZ - Labour

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Tony Ryall
Tony Ryall

Wellington, June 21 NZPA - Health Minister Tony Ryall must explain what he is doing to stop doctors moving to Australia after recent figures show half of the senior registrars in the last year of training go overseas, Labour MP Ruth Dyson says.

Figures released by the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) show half the senior registrars in their last year went overseas, mainly to Australia, to take up their first specialist appointment.

ASMS executive director Ian Powell said losing these doctors overseas was financially irresponsible after taxpayer money went into training them.

"This is on top of the steady regular loss of specialist from public hospitals to Australia for significantly higher remuneration."

Improving employment conditions and salaries for hospital specialists was part of, though not the whole, solution, Mr Powell said.

Ms Dyson said Mr Ryall must suggest a way of keeping doctors here "if closing the wage gap isn't an option".

"The minister needs to urgently address the cutbacks he has instituted in health services if he wants to address the exodus of doctors."

Mr Ryall said the Government had done a lot to keep doctors here.

He highlighted the voluntary bonding scheme, more funding for GP training, more research and educational opportunities and tax cuts -- which he said would be "significant" for doctors.

"Salaries are not the only driver of doctor behaviours, if it was there'd been none in the country."

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