Source: Scoop, 11 April 2018
The Medical Council today released the New Zealand Medical
Workforce in 2015 Survey.
Mr Connolly says a major highlight of the survey is that the
proportion of house officers identifying themselves as Māori
increased from 5.4 to 6.1 percent in 2015.
'While the proportion of Māori doctors for the workforce as a
whole is still relatively low compared to the proportion of Māori
in the general population, the fact that it has increased amongst
our newest doctors bodes well for the future'.
Currently Māori make up approximately 15 percent of New
'Personally, I'm hopeful that in the years ahead the percentage
of Māori doctors will reflect the proportion of Māori in the
general population. This proportionality is now reflected in our
two medical schools'.
Looking out 10 years or even perhaps sooner, Mr Connolly says he
believes this goal is achievable.
'In December 2016, a record number of Māori and Pasifika doctors
graduated from both New Zealand medical schools and for the first
time, the University of Otago reported 'Māori representation within
the total number of medical graduates equate[d] to the proportion
of Māori in the New Zealand population.'
Mr Connolly says the University of Auckland has also reported
'Māori and Pasifika medical graduates made up about a fifth of the
215 doctors to graduate from their six years of training" and that
"[t]his is averaging around 20 to 25 percent of medical students
per year now at the University of Auckland which is closer to the
population proportion for this age group, and very positive.
'We now have to wait for this to flow through to the medical
Looking to the future, Mr Connolly says the potential increase
in Māori doctors has to be good for both Māori and the country.
'The reality is Māori have some of the poorest health of any New
Mr Connolly says familiarity with patients' cultural heritage
has been shown to be associated with improved patient care.
'It's simple things such as understanding the role of whānau,
Māori belief systems and values or tikanga that ultimately will and
do make a huge difference to patient outcomes.
'I'm very optimistic about the long-term future of Māori
'There is obviously a time lag until today's Maori students
become part of the medical workforce and the current health
inequities change for the better.'
Mr Connolly says other findings in the survey include:
· The proportion of New Zealand trained doctors in the workforce
is now increasing after steadily decreasing for many years -
international medical graduates (or overseas trained doctors) now
only make up 40 percent of doctors compared with 42 percent in the
· Women doctors make up nearly 44 of the medical workforce and
now outnumber men amongst new doctors: 57 percent of house officers
and 51 percent of registrars were women.
· The average number of hours worked per week by doctors is
44.4, up from 43.6 in 2015.
· On average, doctors working in rural areas tend to be older
than those working in urban areas - the average age is 48.1 years
in rural areas compared with 44.7 years in urban areas.
· Furthermore, the average hours worked per week by GPs in rural
areas is higher than those in urban areas - 37.2 hours per week in
rural areas compared with 33.9 hours per week in main urban