Hauraki-Coromandel Post

Time to smooth path to careers in health

New med school would fix staff shortfall

- Coromandel MP Scott Simpson

Anyone who has recently visited a hospital or tried to make a doctor’s appointmen­t knows that the health system is under immense pressure. Staff are doing their best to care for patients, but they’re overworked and burned out.

There isn’t a quick fix. We simply haven’t trained enough doctors to meet the demands of our growing and ageing population. When a nurse or doctor retires, we don’t have enough new graduates to replace them.

This workforce shortage is felt across the country, but its impact is heightened in provincial areas like the Coromandel. Many of our residents would identify as “mature” and they deserve access to timely medical care. We also have young families who may start to look at leaving the area if they feel better treatment is available in the larger city centres.

The Coromandel is home to an amazing team of hard-working health profession­als. They do all they can to care for people at our local medical centres and Thames Hospital, but they’re frequently asked to do more with less.

While immigratio­n will always play a part in filling the gaps in the health workforce, we need to encourage and create better pathways for Kiwis to see health as a viable career.

National believes that establishi­ng a new Waikato medical school will help to address workforce shortages by providing 120 more placements for doctors. The new medical school will work with other universiti­es and medical facilities around regional New Zealand — a model that will deliver more doctors committed to serving in rural parts of the country like ours.

Medical staff in New Zealand are overworked and burned out.

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