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Doctor Shortage Affects 24/7 Clinics in New Zealand

Doctor Shortage Affects 24/7 Clinics in New Zealand

Several 24/7 GP clinics in New Zealand are struggling to stay open overnight due to a lack of doctors. This issue is widespread, impacting both rural

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Several 24/7 GP clinics in New Zealand are struggling to stay open overnight due to a lack of doctors. This issue is widespread, impacting both rural and urban areas, and has raised concerns, especially for high-risk patients. Oamaru Hospital, which faced challenges earlier this year, is currently operating 24 hours but is facing significant strain.

Dr. Samantha Murton, President of the Royal New Zealand College of GPs, highlighted the difficulty in providing continuous 24/7 care across the country. The shortage is not just about staffing but also involves securing sufficient funding and engaging willing healthcare professionals.

Te Whatu Ora, overseeing Kenepuru Accident & Medical Clinic, has assured that the clinic will remain open overnight. They are working with a locum agency to fill rosters and setting up a telehealth service for additional healthcare options.

Dr. Murton emphasized the importance of in-person consultations for some patients, even with alternative options like telehealth services. She pointed out that a long-term solution involves ensuring a steady influx of new GPs into the healthcare system. Addressing the shortage in general practice capacity is crucial for meeting the demand for daytime services, handling acute cases, and managing routine tasks efficiently. Investing in primary care at the grassroots level is seen as a cost-effective solution to alleviate strain on the healthcare system.

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