Almost half of general practices had a practice nurse vacancy in the previous 12 months compared to 39% facing a GP vacancy, a 2017 GP survey found.
These are some of the findings released last month in the second report from the Royal New Zealand College of General Practice (RNZCGP) annual 2017 survey of members which had more than 2500 responses.
The GP respondents were asked whether their general practice had a vacancy, or had had a vacancy in the past 12 months for one or more GPs or practice nurses.
The results indicated that more general practices currently had a GP vacancy (26%) than a practice nurse vacancy (17%). But when asked about total vacancies over the previous 12 months slightly more practices had experienced a nursing vacancy (68%) than a GP vacancy (65%).
The survey found that 17% of practices had a current practice nurse vacancy, 51% had had a vacancy over the previous 12 months and 32 per cent had had no nursing vacancies in the previous 12 months.
About one-third of survey respondents who said they were in a practice with a current GP vacancy also had a current vacancy for a practice nurse. Practices with GP vacancies were more likely to be rural, large and in an ownership model other than being owned by a GP (including full or partial district health board ownership and community ownership).
Other survey findings:
- Nearly a quarter of respondents reported working in practices which they considered more than half of its patients would meet the Ministry of Health’s ‘high needs’ criteria but only 75 per cent of those respondents were in practises that are part of the Very Low Cost Access (VLCA) scheme.
- Nearly half (46%) of respondents said patients in the practice frequently deferred appointments because of cost – but this rose to 81% of respondents working in high needs practices that weren’t part of the VLCA scheme.
- The median income for a GP was once again between $100,000 and $125,000 with a quarter earning over $200,000 and 18 per cent earning less than $75,000.
- Earlier survey results indicated that the average number of hours worked by GPs was 35.2 hours – just over half (54%) of GPs worked full time and 46 per cent worked part-time (defined as working less than 36 hours per week).