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Call for greater investment in medical workforce

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The organisations representing both medical students and senior hospital doctors are calling for a greater focus on building a sustainable future medical workforce.

The New Zealand Medical Students’ Association (NZMSA) and the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) have put out a joint statement urging more investment in the current and future medical workforce to ensure top quality public health care.

NZMSA Immediate Past President Mike Fleete says the statement was developed after a joint conference of medical students and senior hospital specialists earlier this year.

"We wanted to send a clear, united message to the leaders and decision-makers in the health sector that the medical workforce needs to be adequately resourced and invested in if New Zealanders are to continue having high quality health care," he says.

"As the next generation of doctors, we want to make sure the medical workforce and our public hospitals are in good shape by the time we’re ready to work in them. We’re training to be doctors because we believe in providing the best patient care and making a real difference in people’s lives."

ASMS Executive Director Ian Powell says it was the first time the two organisations had come together in a formal way to discuss challenges facing the medical workforce and public health care, and he urged the Government to engage with doctors on issues of resourcing and investment.

"We’re very fortunate in New Zealand to have an experienced, well-trained and dedicated health workforce but increasingly our doctors and other health professionals are being asked to do more with less. This is simply unsustainable, and we’re already seeing the effects in the high levels of presenteeism and burnout being reported by senior doctors and dentists working in our public hospitals."

Ian Powell and Mike Fleete say their two organisations have been developing a closer working relationship since 2014, and plan to continue working on issues of shared concern. A copy of the joint communique is available online at

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