An ''extraordinary'' drop in international medical jobs
contributed to a shortfall of places for this year's medical
school graduates, which was resolved this week only by the
goodwill of district health boards, Prof Des Gorman told a GP
medical conference in Dunedin yesterday.
Prof Gorman, executive chairman of Health Workforce NZ, said
some boards had promised to take on more young doctors than
intended, to resolve what had been a significant shortfall.
This year, about 430 students would graduate from New
Zealand's two medical schools.
''How on earth has this happened so quickly?''Increased
medical school placements, along with fewer opportunities
overseas, and low turnover among senior doctors, had created
the unexpected situation.
What had been a large outflow of doctors leaving New Zealand
each year had greatly reduced, and many were now coming home.
Increased medical school places were expected to create a
tight situation with intern places - but it had not been
expected to be an issue for another three years, he said.
One DHB recently had 118 British applicants for 10 doctor
The situation highlighted the fact health workforce planning
was always ''inspired guesswork''.
New Zealand's reliance on overseas trained doctors was set to
drop. Prof Gorman believed a target of 15% international
medical graduates was desirable (it is around 40% at
Training more doctors controlled salaries, and encouraged
them to go to the provinces and into less popular
Prof Gorman was speaking at the General Practice Conference
and Medical Exhibition held at the Edgar Centre.