1 Oct 2008

Union calls for 300 extra doctors to be trained

6:33 pm on 1 October 2008

Junior doctors say New Zealand should train up to three times the number of extra doctors as suggested in a report to the Government.

The Medical Training Board has urged the Government to boost funded places in medical schools by 100 over the next four years.

The board says New Zealand must also improve the training, provide more consistent standards and try to retain more doctors, amid a growing shortage.

The Government says it will consult over the next six months on the report and any funding boost would be part of the next Budget.

However, the general secretary of the Resident Doctors' Association, Deborah Powell, says an extra 300 medical places is more realistic.

Dr Powell estimates that up to 40% of doctors leave New Zealand within three years of graduating and better pay remains their top concern.

Junior doctors are still considering an offer in their pay row with District Health Boards.

Medical students say newly trained doctors will continue to leave New Zealand unless they can get more help with high student debts.