Fight to avoid GPs leaving region

South Canterbury District Health Board is fighting to avoid its GP shortage hitting an all-time high.

The district has been labelled as a ‘hard to staff' area, which is failing to attract young graduates to replace retiring GPs.

However, the South Canterbury District Health Board (SCDHB) is hoping to change that trend after launching a GP training scheme in the district.

The scheme aims to increase the number of GP registrar opportunities in South Canterbury and attract vocationally trained GPs to remain in the district. It also encourages GPs to stay in the district after registration.

Dr Mary McSherry, an accredited GP registrar teacher, already supports the programme.

"Timaru is under doctored and with many GPs retiring in the next decade it's great to be able to support new registrars coming through," she said.

"I'm also learning a lot through teaching - the registrars bring fresh ideas, new thoughts, create discussion and ensure my practice is up to date."

Dr McSherry, along with Drs Paula Hyde, Lewis Arundell and Ian Smith, have been involved in teaching Drs Maira Patu and Tahir Ayub, who are about to complete their first year of registrar training.

Dr Patu said there were many advantages to GP training in South Canterbury.

"I have been involved in great health promotion days at Arowhenua Marae and invited to talk at local schools about different health issues," Dr Patu said. "Training here enables exposure to all sorts of learning, both within the community and in general practice."

Dr Ayub said the South Canterbury was an attractive option for training.

"I have a young family and South Canterbury is a great place for them. Training here enables you to gain a wide scope of both primary and secondary services," Dr Ayub said.

"Being in a smaller DHB we have quality training and close contact with GPs and other hospital staff who have extensive knowledge."

The Timaru Herald