Publication of key findings on New Zealand’s medical workforce
Te Kaunihera Rata or Aoteroa | The Medical Council of New Zealand today published the results of its New Zealand Medical Workforce Survey 2021.
Council Chairman Dr Curtis Walker said “Key findings show that while Maori and Pasifika doctors remain underrepresented in the medical workforce, the positive trends at undergraduate and postgraduate levels continue, with more Maori and Pasifika doctors in the workforce”.
The report shows that the proportion of Maori doctors reaches 4.4%, and it is promising to see that 21.6% of Otago graduates and 13.6% of Auckland graduates were Maori, with 6.6% respectively and 7.0% Pasifika graduates from each medical school. In addition, the New Zealand Medical Schools Outcomes Database reports that 15.3% of students entering medical school between 2015 and 2019 identified as Maori and 7.2% as Pasifika.
Dr Walker says: “Importantly, the proportion of practicing physicians who are women has increased from 46.2% in 2020 to 46.9% in this year’s survey. We predict that women will outnumber men in practice by 2025.”
It is also nice to note that New Zealand is retaining more graduates than before. New Zealand retained 90% of its medical graduates from the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 cohorts for 5 years after initial enrolment. Retention of previous cohorts at the same time averaged just under 80%. This reflects initiatives such as the Department of Health’s Voluntary Bonding Scheme, which encourages graduates to stay in New Zealand in the years immediately following graduation.
“However, we also know the pressures that medical staff are under,” says Dr Walker. “It will be important to continue to build a diverse medical workforce from our medical schools and retain these people in our healthcare system.
Aotearoa has a significant proportion of doctors who obtained their medical degrees overseas, with 42.1% of the doctors enrolled being International Medical Graduates (IMGs).
“It is important that the Council maintains strong and fair processes for the many overseas doctors who wish to practice in Aotearoa, while increasing the number of New Zealand-trained doctors and ensuring a more empowered medical workforce.” Said Dr. Walker.
Other key findings were:
• The number of practicing physicians has increased. The total number of physicians on the registry with practicing certificates increased by 3.6% in 2021, from 17,671 to 18,308.
• The fastest growing specialties are emergency medicine, urgent care and internal medicine.
• The number of physicians registered in the professional field of emergency medicine increased by more than 12% between 2020 and 2021. Urgent care increased by 6.4% and internal medicine by 4.3%.
About the survey
The 2021 Physician Workforce Survey The report is drawn from feedback collected when a physician applies for the annual certificate of practice and provides an overview of the current medical workforce, insight into the changing demographics of the profession, and trends regarding where and how doctors are working.