Always there to care:  Celebrating Specialist GPs on World Family Doctor Day

19 May 2022

On World Family Doctor Day, The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners is celebrating the amazing work and dedication of its membership of over 5,600 general practitioners and rural hospital doctors.

With the theme, “Always there to care” World Family Doctor Day is a celebration of the crucial role the primary medical care workforce has in our communities to provide comprehensive and complex care, often referred to as ‘cradle to grave’ care.

College President Dr Samantha Murton says, “When people consider the enduring relationships built up over an extended time that you and your whānau have with your specialist GP, it provides for a level of trust and a continuity of care that truly makes a difference to health and wellbeing. Often this results in hauora health, providing for a holistic outcome considering both clinical and non-clinical health matters. 

“I have always known our workforce to be resilient and adaptable and the past two years have shown me just how far we go to serve the health and wellbeing of our communities. I acknowledge and give my thanks to every one of you. You are truly making a difference to the lives of New Zealanders.

“General practice is not for the faint hearted, but as we connect with patients, catch problems early, diagnose and treat complex illness, or have a patient meet that goal we have been supporting them to reach – those rewards help us remember why we chose to be a specialist GP or rural hospital doctor.”

College CEO Lynne Hayman says, “We know the significant impact that specialist GPs and rural hospital doctors have on the health outcomes of communities as they carry out over 14 million consultations a year.  

“The well-documented workforce shortage is alarming,  and the College is committed to training increased numbers of registrars, but we can’t do this without government, universities and the new Health NZ working with us closely to make general practice a rewarding and viable career choice.”

“Showing appreciation to your GP, your rural hospital doctor, and their support teams with a kind word and a thank you really does make a difference and makes us feel valued for the work we are doing every day,” says Dr Murton.

World Family Doctor Day is run by the World Organisation of Family Doctors (WONCA).