Waitaki re­gion com­pares well for GP num­bers


Southern New Zealand, in­clud­ing Waitaki, com­pares rea­son­ably well with other parts of the coun­try in terms of the num­ber of gen­eral prac­ti­tion­ers (GPs) per pop­u­la­tion.

The re­cently re­leased Med­i­cal Work­force Sur­vey showed the southern re­gion had 94 GPs per 100,000 pop­u­la­tion, which placed it fifth among the 20 re­gions in the coun­try.

The district health board re­gion with the most GPs per 100,000 pop­u­la­tion was Nel­son/ Marl­bor­ough, with 109, fol­lowed by Welling­ton’s Cap­i­tal and Coast (105), Auck­land (100), and Bay of Plenty (95).

The re­gion with the fewest GPs per pop­u­la­tion was Coun­ties-Manukau, with 62. Other re­gions to­wards the bot­tom of the list were Mid Cen­tral in the North Is­land (63), South Can­ter­bury and Taranaki (both 65), and the West Coast (67).

The sur­vey also re­vealed some dif­fer­ences be­tween ur­ban and ru­ral ar­eas.

There was a sig­nif­i­cantly higher pro­por­tion of in­ter­na­tional med­i­cal grad­u­ates in ru­ral ar­eas com­pared with ur­ban ar­eas – 54.5 per­cent of doc­tors in ru­ral ar­eas were in­ter­na­tional grad­u­ates com­pared to 37.8 per­cent in main ur­ban ar­eas.

It was thought this was due to ru­ral ar­eas be­ing harder to staff, so po­si­tions in these ar­eas were more likely to be filled by doc­tors from out­side New Zealand.

Main ur­ban ar­eas had the high­est con­cen­tra­tion of GPs (92.5 per 100,000 pop­u­la­tion), closely fol­lowed by sec­ondary ur­ban ar­eas (89.8), with ru­ral ar­eas sig­nif­i­cantly lower (72.4).

There was a higher pro­por­tion of fe­male doc­tors in ur­ban ar­eas com­pared with ru­ral ar­eas – 44.3 per­cent of doc­tors in main ur­ban ar­eas were fe­male com­pared with 39.2 per­cent of doc­tors in ru­ral ar­eas

For all doc­tors, the av­er­age num­ber of hours worked per week was slightly lower in ru­ral ar­eas, but the num­ber of on-call hours was higher.

Doc­tors in ru­ral ar­eas on av­er­age were on call for 8.7 hours per week com­pared with 5.3 for doc­tors in main ur­ban ar­eas.

The av­er­age hours worked per week by GPs was higher in ru­ral ar­eas than in ur­ban ar­eas – 37.2 hours per week in ru­ral ar­eas com­pared with 33.9 hours per week in main ur­ban ar­eas.

Doc­tors work­ing in ru­ral ar­eas tended to be on av­er­age older than those work­ing in ur­ban ar­eas. The av­er­age age was 48.1 years in ru­ral ar­eas com­pared with 44.7 years in main ur­ban ar­eas.

A higher pro­por­tion of fe­male doc­tors work in ur­ban ar­eas than ru­ral ar­eas, the sur­vey found.

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