9 Aug 2011

Extension to voluntary bonding scheme wanted

5:17 am on 9 August 2011

The Rural General Practice Network would like to see a Government voluntary bonding scheme for students in the health sector extended to more medical specialities.

The Government pays money against loans for graduate doctors, nurses and midwives who commit to working in hard-to-staff areas which find it difficult to attract people.

The graduates must commit to between three and five years in the specific areas.

The scheme is in its third year and in total more than 1800 people have signed up, 1400 of whom are nurses.

Rural GP network chair Dr Jo Scott Jones says he would like to see the initiative extend to cover primary care nursing and more specifically, rural general practice.

He says the country should be aiming for a doctor to patient ratio of about 1:1500 patients and this is not being achieved across New Zealand.