Health Hawke's Bay has taken the initiative to address the growing staff shortages among general practioners in the region by partnering with well-known medical recruitment organisation Medrecruit.
Group manager of health services and innovation Peter Satterthwaite, who is leading the initiative, said GP shortages were a national issue, and Hawke's Bay was no different.
"Vacancies are already difficult to fill because of the pandemic. And we also have some planned GP retirements in the future.
"It's difficult for people to enrol into GP practices currently because they have vacancies and can't take on new patients.
"It's taking longer for people to be seen, and be registered."
He said somewhere between a third and a quarter of GPs in the region had indicated the intention to retire in the next five years, and half of the GP population was intending to retire in the next 10.
The average age of GPs in the region was 50, and the region had about 115 (FTE) working in the area, he said.
"The region is expected to have nearly 30 retirements in five years, and 50 in the next 10.
"These factors have put an enormous strain on general practice and have limited our ability to provide a comprehensive enrolling service to our population."
He said Health HB recognised that a strong and sustainable health workforce was a critical investment which contributed not only to improving the health and wellbeing of the population but also to general practice business and service model viability.
"We would like to encourage health as a good career, a good speciality, and show that Hawke's Bay is a great place to live."
Health HB has developed a strategy which includes the training, recruitment, retention, and ongoing development of medical, nursing, and other workforce.
He said they were hoping to recruit 10 to 15 GPs in the next year by partnering with Medrecruit, which will undertake a market campaign in NZ, Australia, the UK, Europe and Ireland promoting Hawke's Bay as "the region" to live and Hawke's Bay general practice as "the place" to work.
"We are actively working on it now."
Medrecruit services would include screening of responses to the marketing campaign, reference checking of any suitable qualified GPs, providing CV, references, and overview of what the GP is looking for, setting up suitable interview times (usually via Zoom) and follow-up and feedback post-interview.
Health HB would provide a local liaison service between Medrecruit and GP practices and would make an investment in the network sustainability by heavily subsidising the service, he said.
There might be a small contribution required by each participating practice but this would be "vastly less" than practices are currently paying for GP recruitment through external agencies.
Health HB will fund a video "walk-through" highlighting the attributes of participating practices and a promotional video highlighting the benefits of living (and working in health care) in the Hawke's Bay region.
"We are looking at providing people with more opportunities to experience GP practices."
• Practices can register their interest by emailing Fiona Thomson at email@example.com. Thomson will provide additional information and a template. GP recruitment can be a 3-6 month process (or longer).