A new batch of general practitioners has just been made, with 191 GPs graduating their speciality training from The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners.
The GPs, who all completed their specialist training over the previous 12 months as either GPs or rural hospital doctors are now Fellows of the College. The Fellows spent three years doing the College’s General Practice Education Programme (GPEP), which gives them clinical and practical experience including on-the-job training in communities across New Zealand. Their training is a post-graduate specialisation, as they’ve already obtained a medical degree and completed hospital-based work experience for at least two years.
GPs do the last part of their training in the community they’re now serving; Auckland is the big winner with 77 of the new GPs living and working in that region. Northland and Taranaki, traditionally areas with GP shortages, have four and two new GPs respectively who’ve trained and now work there. Wellington has 14 new GPs or rural hospital doctors, Canterbury 15, and Waikato has 28.
President of the College, Dr Samantha Murton (pictured left) says, "GPs are the heart of their communities; it’s such a rewarding career and gives me great pleasure to welcome 191 new Fellows to the College.
"Most New Zealanders access their healthcare in their community and our GPs need to reflect the culture and need of those communities. I know the training these doctors have received from the College is world-class, contemporary, and robust and I look forward to seeing our new Fellows develop further as they get into the everyday rhythm of community medicine."
Dr Rachel Mackie is chair of Te Akoranga a Māui, the College’s Māori representative group and says, "It’s great to have seven new Māori GPs but we need many more if we are going to be serious about health equity in Aotearoa and that starts with more Māori being accepted to medical school so our doctors can at the very least mirror the society we live in.
"Our Māori GPs are high-achievers and will be an integral part of the communities they work in; we just need more of them," she says.
New Fellows of the College traditionally graduate in a special ceremony at the College’s annual conference. However, this year the conference and ceremony were cancelled because of COVID-19. The 2020 new GPs will have the opportunity to participate in a formal ceremony next year with the 2021 GP graduates.