Medical Council Workforce Survey results

MCNZ has released its annual workforce report survey which provides a snapshot of the current medical workforce and insights into the profession’s changing demographics. Key findings include: 

– The number of practising doctors increased by 4.2 percent in 2018 from 15,819 to 16,292.
– The proportion of Māori doctors is 3.5 percent, well below the proportion of Māori in the NZ population. However, in 2018 almost 16 percent of Otago’s graduates and 14 percent of Auckland’s graduates were Māori, boding well for a future boost in the number of Māori doctors.
– The proportion of female doctors increased (now at 45.8 percent of doctors in the active workforce), up one percentage point from 2017. Women remain on track to outnumber men by 2025.
– The fastest growing specialties were urgent care, emergency medicine and ophthalmology. 

Gender pay disparity for specialists
Female specialists are paid 12.5% less per hour than their male colleagues, which reflects gender bias rather than other factors – that’s the finding of independent research commissioned by the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS).

The study controlled for potentially confounding factors such as specialty choice and the number of hours worked. The disparity exists between males and females of the same age, in the same specialty, working for the same hours per week in their DHB employment. The gap increased to 13.6% between male and female specialists with one child, and 17.2% between male and female specialists with two or more children.

ASMS will request gender pay audits using mutually agreed methodology to try to eliminate this inequality. 

Implicit bias in healthcare
Learning modules on explicit and implicit bias in healthcare have been released by the Health Quality and Safety Commission. HQSC’s medical director Dr Iwona Stolarek says that it can be confronting and challenging as a clinician to accept that you might not treat all your patients equally. The modules encourage health professionals to examine their biases, and how they affect the healthcare they provide and interactions with patients. The three modules, which include interviews with clinicians, are: Understanding and addressing implicit bias; Te Tiriti o Waitangi, colonisation and racism; and experiences of bias. Watch here

Strengthened recertification requirements
The Medical Council has undertaken work to strengthen recertification requirements for vocationally registered doctors in New Zealand. The requirements build on existing systems and put emphasis on recertification activities that relate to the actual work doctors do and that are most likely to improve practice.

Accredited recertification programme providers are expected to work towards these requirements, with implementation by 1 July 2022. Read more here.

End of Life Choice Bill passes
The End of Life Choice Bill passed at its third and final vote in parliament last week, and will go to a referendum at the 2020 General Election. Read more at The NZ Herald, on how the legislation could impact patients and clinicians.

WFSA President’s letter
Dr Jannicke Mellin-Olsen, President of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) has written a letter to member societies about the WFSA’s wide ranging work to help achieve universal access to safe anaesthesia. Read here