A record number of medical graduates have signed up to train as general practitioners from next year.
The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners said 239 doctors would start the three-year training programme in January to specialise in family medicine.
Its president, Dr Samantha Murton, said that was a 25 per cent increase on previous years, which have averaged about 190 registrars.
“It is a testament to the joint efforts from the college, Te Whatu Ora and other organisations who have worked tirelessly to highlight the rewarding nature of our role and increase awareness about the essential mahi we do to improve health outcomes.”
More GPs would mean shorter wait times for appointments, less reliance on after-hours and urgent care services, and ease workload pressures “so GPs could spend more time with those patients who needed it”, she said.
“With 90 per cent of medical conditions being treated in general practice, it is critical that we have enough specialist GPs right around the motu.”
A report released by the college earlier this year estimated the number of GPs per 100,000 people was on track to fall from 74 in 2021 to 70 in 2031.
Te Whatu Ora chief people officer Andrew Slater said the record intake was “a fantastic step” towards Health New Zealand’s target of 300 GP registrars by 2026.
“GPs are such an essential part of how we ensure exceptional primary care for our communities, so we are thrilled to see this level of interest in GP training.
“Our focus will be on working collaboratively with the college and practices to support GPEP (General Practice Education Programme) registrars as they go through the training.”
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