Data and statistics

Note: the text on this page draws it's information from the 2020 Workforce Survey unless otherwise stated. The results of our next Workforce Survey are due early 2023.

What does the GP and rural hospital doctor workforce look like in Aotearoa?

  • The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners is Aotearoa’s largest medical college, with a membership of more than 5,728 GPs.
  • 850 doctors are training right now in the College’s General Practice in Education Programme.

Demographics

  • 58 percent of the College’s membership identify as female.
  • 2 percent are Pacific peoples; 3 percent identify as Middle Eastern, Latin, or African; 4 percent are Māori; 19 percent identify as Asian; and 77 percent are European (Pākehā).
  • The gender pay gap is 14.6 percent.

Where and how GPs work

  • 69 percent work in GP-owned practices.
  • More GPs work part-time than full-time.
  • 28 percent of rural hospital doctors have after-hours commitments.
  • 49 percent feel confident or very confident using video conferencing technologies in their mahi.
  • 49 percent of GPs provide training to medical students or doctors.

Where they train

  • 37 percent of GPs are international medical graduates and 63 percent got their first medical degree in Aotearoa.
  • International medical graduates are mainly from the United Kingdom, followed by South Africa, India, and Australia.
  • 46 percent of rural hospital doctors got their first medical degree overseas.

Workforce Survey

Many of the statistics above come from the College’s Workforce Survey, which is run every two years. This survey helps the College to plan and advocate for its members in useful and meaningful ways.

  • 27 percent of GPs intend to retire in the next five years, and 49 percent plan to retire in the next 10 years.
  • 80 percent of rural hospital doctors say they are likely to recommend a career in rural hospital medicine.

Burnout

  • 21 percent of rural hospital doctors feel burnt out.
  • 31 percent of GPs rate themselves as high on the burnout scale.

Following anecdotal member feedback and early results from the 2020 Workforce Survey about burnout levels the College President, Dr Samantha Murton, asked management to survey members to help identify the factors contributing to member burnout. An anonymous survey was run during the last two weeks of November 2020. In total, 1495 responses were received, which included 809 verbatim comments.

Analysis of these results identified three core themes contributing to member burnout:

  1. increased patient need and complexity
  2. structure of the funding formula
  3. administrative burden.

Future of the Workforce Report

Aotearoa is facing a shortage of GPs and in 10 years it is projected that it will be short 300 GPs.

After the Workforce Survey in 2020, the College commissioned a report to recommend practical changes to address the GP shortage.

The Future of the Workforce Report found that:

  • The number of GPs per 100,000 people is projected to fall from 74 in 2021 to just 70 in 2031.
  • People can’t always get a GP appointment when they need it. This is worst for Māori adults, but Māori and Pasifika children are also unable to get appointments.
  • 10 extra GPs per 100,000 people means about 30 people a year wouldn’t die from cancer, respiratory, and cardiovascular issues.