Scheme helping to staff hard to fill positions



Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman

Minister of Health

28 February 2016

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says an incentive scheme designed to boost the number of health professionals working in hard-to-staff roles or areas is making a real difference.
  
“It’s important that New Zealanders get the treatment they need, when they need it, no matter where they live,” says Dr Coleman.
  
“The Voluntary Bonding Scheme helps New Zealand graduates to establish careers here while also filling shortages in identified areas and specialities.
  
“This means less reliance on locums and shorter waiting times for treatments.
  
“To-date, just over $23 million has been paid out to eligible participants, showing the scheme is a valuable tool.”
  
As at 1 February this year, 3,526 people have enrolled on the scheme since its introduction in 2009.

A total of 1,099 people have received a payment, including 106 doctors, 118 midwives, 861 nurses, and 14 radiation therapists.

Those on the scheme receive three annual payments after a bonded period of three years, to help repay their student loan or as top-up income.
  
In 2016 places on the scheme are limited to 350 positions. This is due to the high level of interest and increased retention rate.
  
The Ministry of Health plans to review the scheme later in the year to better understand the impact it is having on workforce sustainability.

This programme is supported by the extra $400 million being invested into the health sector this year, taking the health budget to a record $15.9 billion.

Media contact: Angela Kenealy 021 220 0129


Last updated: Friday, March 4, 2016

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