Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Tokoroa doctor job that still can't be filled despite $400,000 salary, 12 weeks annual leave and going viral

Surgery director Alan Kenny believes no one wants to work rurally. Photo / Mike Scott
Surgery director Alan Kenny believes no one wants to work rurally. Photo / Mike Scott

The Tokoroa medical practice swamped with applicants in February after the $400,000 job went viral has not yet filled the role.

The Herald received hundreds of applications from around the world for the position after one of the surgery's two directors, Dr Alan Kenny, said he was struggling to fill the position so he could ease into retirement.

Doctors, health professionals and other unqualified hopefuls went into a global frenzy at the thought of earning almost double the average salary for a New Zealand GP.

READ MORE: The $400K job applicants - what do they know about Tokoroa?

But four months later, rural GP recruitment agency NZ Locums, which is part of the government-funded New Zealand Rural General Practice Network, is still looking to fill the position at Tokoroa Family Health.

The conditions on offer are mostly unchanged: no on-call work required, up to 12 weeks of annual leave, flexible work days and an option of taking over the practice.

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The only difference is the pay, which is advertised at $1100 a day, which works out to about $286,000 a year. The package includes the Medical Council of New Zealand annual registration fee and indemnity insurance.

The start date for the role was June 1 but the agency has been unable to fill the position since it first advertised it in November last year.

NZ Rural General Practice Network communications and membership manager Rob Olsen said there had not been many applicants despite the salary being significantly higher than the average rate for a rural doctor.

Mr Olsen said NZ Locums had recently recruited two permanent GPs at the practice to replace two long-term GPs, but still need one to replace Dr Kenny.

The ad says the two principal GPs are in their 60s and looking to reduce their hours or retire so are looking for a successor for the surgery's 6000 registered patients.

Dr Kenny was unavailable to talk to the Herald, but said in February he had been flooded with "trash applicants" and was considering a couple of candidates with "rigorous qualifications".

He listed the job ad on Seek.co.nz in February in a desperate attempt to fill the role after specialist recruitment firms had been unable to find a suitable candidate which he believed was down to a shortage of doctors wanting to be rural GPs.

Tokoroa Family Health and Tokoroa Medical Centre are the only practices in the town and both are located at Tokoroa Hospital.

Most doctors in Tokoroa commute from surrounding areas including Cambridge, Rotorua and Taupo.

- NZ Herald

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