Media Release: The New Zealand Initiative Calls for Immediate Action to Retain and Expand the GP Workforce Following Recent Study

Emeritus Professor Des Gorman
11 March, 2024

The New Zealand Initiative Calls for Immediate Action to Retain and Expand the GP Workforce Following Recent Study

Wellington (Monday, 11 March 2024)
- Considering a recent study highlighting the severe limitations on general practice enrolments due to capacity issues, The New Zealand Initiative urges a renewed focus on retaining the existing GP workforce and expanding their roles and functions.


This call to action reinforces the Initiative’s work to address New Zealand's healthcare challenges, as outlined in its report, "Lifeline for Health: Meeting New Zealand’s Need for General Practitioners," which was released in August last year.


A study published on Friday by The New Zealand Medical Journal and reported on by NZ Herald and RNZ, shed light on the growing concerns around access to general practitioners.


The findings from this study adds empirical support to the Initiative’s report. The study, co-authored by Associate Professor Mona Jeffreys from Victoria University, confirms that many general practices have limited or stopped new patient enrolments due to capacity issues.

Initially, The New Zealand Initiative’s report faced criticism from some sectors of the general practice community at the time of publication.

While the Initiative’s report did draw attention to the GP shortage crisis, the pressing issue now, as underscored by this recent study, is the urgent need to develop strategies that retain healthcare professionals within the general practice sector.


Emeritus Professor Des Gorman, co-author of the Initiative’s report, emphasised the importance of this renewed focus: “We recommend a ‘retain and extend’ approach to the general medical practice (GP) workforce. This must be codeveloped with GP leaders as ‘top-down’ initiatives predictably fail. Increased training of GPs and recruitment of suitable doctors from overseas are recommended strategies, but both have significant lag. In addition, it is probably unethical to recruit doctors to a work environment that is not attractive to the current population of GPs.”

The New Zealand Initiative’s report advocated for new investment in innovative community healthcare practices, individual budget holdings, and social investment approaches. It underlined the urgent nature of the GP shortage crisis, indicating an increasing demand for GPs in the future.

The New Zealand Initiative’s report Lifeline for Health: Meeting New Zealand’s need for General Practitioners by Emeritus Professor Des Gorman and Dr Murray Horn is available from The New Zealand Initiative’s website here.


Emeritus Professor Des Gorman is available for comment. To schedule an interview, please contact:

Jamuel Enriquez, Marketing and Communications Manager
P: 021 022 34451
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