There’s no denying that New Zealand has a critical shortage of general practitioners; it’s been that way for several years. With a rapidly growing population, and one that is increasingly ageing, there simply are not enough GPs to meet the needs of our communities. What’s more, many of the GPs in practice now are planning to leave the profession at some stage in the future. According to the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP), of the GPs presently in practice, 57% are aged over 50, with 27% intending to retire with five years and 44% intending to retire in the next ten years.
One of the ways to offset these rather bleak statistics is to support doctors to train as a specialist GPs. Medical graduates and/or medical professionals moving to New Zealand may be interested in the RNZCGP’s well-regarded, three-year General Practice Education Programme (GPEP). Dr Richard Medlicott, RNZCGP medical director and Wellington GP, believes the College’s programme is an excellent pathway to attaining a specialist career as a GP in Aotearoa.
Entry requirements for overseas doctors include holding a general registration from their country of origin, at least one year of working in a New Zealand hospital or in primary care and registration with the New Zealand Medical Council granted prior to course commencement. Funding and bonding schemes are available through the Ministry of Health and Health Workforce New Zealand for eligible applicants.
A new intake commences training in December of each year, with the three-year programme divided into two main stages. GPEP1 combines on-the-job experience in two 6-month blocks with support through mentoring, weekly seminars and workshops. Passing a clinical and written examination at the end of the first year enables doctors to proceed through to GPEP 2/3. This stage focuses on continued clinical training, as well as preparing each doctor to become a Fellow of the College and a vocationally registered GP. Further information about the College and the programme itself can be found on the RNZCGP website.
Specialist general practitioners have the chance to positively impact the lives of a great many New Zealanders. As well as addressing the chronic need within the health care sector, there is real value and satisfaction in being able to build relationships with families and patients over time. Not knowing what will next come through their door, GPs are trained to be adept at switching gears, thinking on their feet and remaining calm under pressure. Being free from hospital rosters means that they can achieve a work/life balance that suits them, choose where they live and work and explore the potential to be their own boss.
Ochre Recruitment has years of experience in helping overseas doctors gain New Zealand Medical Council registration, in working through the GPEP application requirements and, perhaps best of all, in placing GPs into either locum and permanent positions that they love.
If you would like to know more about GP or locum medical jobs in New Zealand, our Ochre Recruitment consultants would be happy to talk to you today.
*Mental Health Foundation statistics from 2014
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