31 May 2011

Pay disparity 'results in loss of senior doctors'

10:56 am on 31 May 2011

The Government is being told the disparity in salaries between New Zealand and Australia results in a steady loss of the most experienced senior doctors in this country.

Health Workforce New Zealand has asked sector groups to assess workforce needs in light of an expected doubling of demand and funding increase of 30 - 40% over the next decade.

The series of workforce reviews are being released from Tuesday.

Anaesthetists say the pay gap with Australia makes retention difficult and more must be done to use available staff to fill gaps in smaller New Zealand centres.

New Zealand Society of Anaesthetists president Rob Carpenter says larger centres such as Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch are well staffed, but Invercargill, the West Coast and Gisborne are struggling to get specialists.

Gastroenterologists say the recruitment and retention problem is at crisis point, with people in smaller centres facing long waits for procedures such as colonoscopies to help diagnose cancer.

Health Workforce New Zealand says the reviews will result in changes to how services are delivered.