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PRESS RELEASE - Questions should be asked re: GP shortage on West Coast 'greatest risk' for the DHB.on 15 August
Questions should be asked says College Co-chair.
How is it that the current shortage of GPs on the West Coast is the ‘greatest risk’ for the DHB?, when the DHB and the Ministry of Health have, on more than one occasion been presented with the solution?
One might wonder how health services have been delivered to West Coasters over the last decade or so with so few GPs? By registered nurses is the answer – Highly educated and trained rural nurse specialists providing expert health services from Karamea to Haast. You wouldn’t know this from the latest story about GP shortages, which once again makes no mention of these critical primary health care nursing services; services that include dealing with emergencies ranging from motor vehicle accidents, to attending people falling off Glaciers, to domestic accidents.
It would appear the West Coast DHB is prepared to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars recruiting GP locums from around the world, rather than look for a permanent solution that is right under their noses, Nurse Practitioners (NPs). Investing in the transition of registered nurses to Nurse Practitioners would ensure a safe permanent workforce of high level practitioners who have already demonstrated commitment and permanence in their community.
At a fraction of the cost of expensive locums, NPs could easily provide the a high standard of primary health care here in New Zealand. Despite the continuing rise in health care costs, and the constant call for innovation and change within our health services little real change happens.
The College of Nurses urge the Minister of Health and Health Workforce Chair to guide the West Coast DHB towards saving West Coasters ( and many other DHBs ) precious health dollars by looking at what NPs and rural nurse specialists can offer.
Contact Person – Ms Judy Yarwood;
Co-Chair College of Nurses