Age, Education and Inaction.
Doctors & nurses. We do not have enough, and they are disappearing.
When the NZ Rural Health Network chair Dr Fiona Bolden claims “it is not too dramatic to say we are seeing a collapse of health services in rural areas,” we need to wake up and take notice and act.
The numbers tell a stark story of age:
· Median age of all GPs is 54 with 14% over 65.
· One third plan to retire within five short years.
· 50% will be retired within 10 years.
· 80% of our rural GPs say they have suffered some form of burnout.
We need over 800 new doctors every year and we only train 550. That need can only grow, and the supply is being artificially constrained by our education system.
Our hospitals are in crisis and no amount of rearranging the deck chairs and back office staff will improve our frontline. In a crisis there are times when you simply need numbers of expert hands and the best frontline troops; our primary health doctors, are under pressure, leaving the vocation, and we are not replacing them quick enough.
Our GPs are the ones who know you and your family’s health intimately. They are up close and personal and more than anyone else can prevent a health crisis with a patient if the symptoms are caught early. That avoids overloading our hospitals.
The answer is… we simply need more doctors and nurses.
There is plenty of distressing commentary about it. When Starship Hospital cannot use its assets because of lack of staff, our most vulnerable children are at risk.
The core of the problem is our education system.
We are being held to ransom by an educational duopoly at a time when we need to train more medical staff. Supply of new doctors is being artificially restricted by the two New Zealand universities with medical schools that aggressively protect their patch.
The two medical schools are acting as if they are a duopoly and they need to be challenged.
A duopoly is where two entities have dominant or exclusive control over a market.
The Commerce Commission is looking at all forms of anti-competitive behaviour but is missing the boat when it comes to the education of doctors.
Immigration has been proven to be a false solution. 75% of foreign educated doctors leave New Zealand within three years of arriving, and this government has held onto tough immigration settings.
Your health is at risk because it is clear we are not training enough doctors.
The solution is action not inaction. The solution is creating a new medical school at Waikato University.
If we want good healthcare for ourselves and future generations, we must hit up our local MPs on this issue now.
If you are in a rural Waikato electorate your MPs are Louise Upston, Scott Simpson, Tim van de Molen, Barbara Kuriger, David Bennett and Andrew Bayly. If you are in Hamilton, it is Tama Potaka in the west and Jamie Strange in the east. It wouldn’t hurt to chase up the aspiring election 2023 candidates like Ryan Hamilton & Georgie Dansey now that they have announced their intentions to run for election.
Prevention is always better than a cure. We need the University of Waikato Medical School to ensure we have enough doctors to keep us healthy and out of hospitals.
Use your vote this year to get a new medical school.