Sentry Page Protection
New Zealand Specific Healthcare Question 2
The University is proposing to give priority entry to Medical School applicants who agree to work in a rural area for 2 years after graduation. What do you think of this?
There is currently a significant shortage of rurally-based doctors in New Zealand. Many of these have been practising for many years and are close to retirement age. This creates a significant gap in the medical workforce which we will struggle to fill if it is not attractive for individuals to would in rural areas. Giving priority entry to rural students not only makes practising medicine in some of the more remote parts of New Zealand more attractive, but it may also encourage students who have come from these remote areas/communities to train and then wish to return to their communities to practice. For these students, a two-year bond would be less of an issue given their ties to the community.
These students would already have knowledge of the health issues within that community and also have already created long-standing relationships that a locum or incoming GP new to town would not be able to form. This supports the continuity of care model, which is necessary for these communities, particularly those with a high proportion of Maori, where relationships are an essential part of working effectively to improve their health outcomes.