GP numbers get a Govt boost as our medics (on maternity duties) master the reality that modern-day mums might not be women

Buzz from the Beehive

The big news on the Beehive website today deals with a government initiative to tackle the shortage of general practitioners in communities around the country.

The remedy calls for an injection of public funding, but no costings are mentioned in the press statement from Health Minister Andrew Little.

He does say the package he has announced includes a pick-me-up in the pay packets of doctors who choose to train as GPs.

This news vies for media attention on the Beehive website with an announcement about the accomplishments of another government programme, the Health Homes Initiative.

The first sentence of this announcement might not raises eyebrows among the editors of our modern-day news media.  It did arouse some curiosity among your PoO editors:

More than 31,000 children, pregnant people and 111,000 of their family members are warmer and healthier thanks to the Healthy Homes Initiative according to the latest three-year evaluation report released today.

Pregnant people?

What people other than women of child-bearing age can fall pregnant?

Fair to say (as we learned from Parents)

When talking about reproduction, reproductive rights, and gynecological health, transgender folks deserve the same inclusive and affirming care as cisgender folks. That starts with changing the language around transgender pregnancy.

Hence the Ardern Government may well be demanding gender-neutral language from its army of spin doctors in the same way as it requires its press statements to be heavily laced with te reo to impede easy comprehension.

But whoa.  The words “pregnant women” can be found further on in the healthy homes press release, although this may have resulted from a lapse in the drafting department.

For the record, the Healthy Homes Initiative

“… has delivered over 100,000 interventions – providing education, beds and bedding, curtains, housing relocation, and heating to those who need it most. The Government recently expanded the scheme to cover the whole country by the end of the year.”

This statement does contain the cost.

“We’ve invested $30 million in the initiative and in Budget 22 funded its extension to the whole country.”

Initially, the programme targeted low-income families with children at risk of rheumatic fever,

“… but was expanded to focus on families with children aged up to 5 and pregnant women, and recently rolled-out to the rest of the country.”

Associate Minister of Health Aupito William Sio (favouring language that requires English-speaking readers to consult their reference books) chimed in to say the Healthy Homes Initiative had made a huge impact

“.. on the health and wellbeing of over 31,000 tamariki/hapū māmā and over 111,000 members of their whānau/aiga.”

Significantly, 94 per cent of referrals identify as Māori or Pacific.

The programme is part of the Government’s wider housing programme which includes major investment in rebuilding the public housing sector (10,000 additional homes and counting), retrofitting state houses to bring them up to standard and billions of dollars for critical housing infrastructure.

In his statement, Andrew Little said increasing the number of GPs is vital to ensure NZ has  the doctors needed in the future, so finding different ways of providing training is essential.

In August, as part of a wider health workforce announcement, he said the Government would increase from 200 to 300 the number of GPs trained in New Zealand each year.

“Today, I’m pleased to confirm that, after discussions with the Royal College of General Practitioners, measures are being put in place to do that.”

Doctors who choose to train as GPs will be paid as much as their hospital counterparts.

Funding is also being increased to enable the Royal College to pay teaching supervisors for an extra two-and-a-half hours a week, and GPs who host 12-week community training modules will be paid hosting fees of $3600.

Salary increases will be between 13 per cent and 23 per cent, depending on which year of training the junior doctor is in.

Oh – and more than 1000 healthcare workers have applied to work in New Zealand under new immigration settings that came into effect in July, the press statement said.

Lots of nurses among them?

Latest from the Beehive

4 OCTOBER 2022

Plan for big boost in GP training numbers

More support is being given to New Zealand medical graduates training to be GPs, as the Government continues its push to get more doctors into communities.

3 OCTOBER 2022

142,000 Kiwis helped by Healthy Homes Initiative

More than 31,000 children, pregnant people and 111,000 of their family members are warmer and healthier thanks to the Healthy Homes Initiative according to the latest three-year evaluation report released today.

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