General practitioners relocating to rural areas from overseas will now qualify for relocation funding, following advocacy from the body representing rural health services.
The Rural Health Network (Hauora Taiwhenua) has successfully advocated for relocation funding from Health NZ (Te Whatu Ora) to support the recruitment of international GPs applying to work in rural primary care practices.
“This is very welcome news for all rural general practices,” network chief executive Dr Grant Davidson said.
“Being able to attract and recruit international GPs in a competitive market has long been a challenge for under-resourced practices.”
The relocation fund, which opened on September 1 and closes on June 30 2024, is available to support internationally recruited GPs who take up a new position and/or sign an employment agreement with an eligible rural primary care practice between September 1 2023 to June 30 2024.
It offers up to $20,000 paid in two lump sums over a two-year bonding period for each eligible internationally recruited GP.
Davidson said heavily incentivised recruitment campaigns in other countries, in particular Australia, provide stiff competition.
“We know that our rural practices, many of which are reaching burnout, will be most thankful.”