24 May 2013 12:58 p.m.
An Opotiki based doctor hopes more emphasis will eventually be put on GP or primary care nurse placements in rural areas.
The Voluntary Bonding Scheme rewards medical graduates by paying off some of their student loans if they agree to work in hard to staff centres.
Head of the Rural General Practice Network Dr Jo Scott-Jones thinks the scheme needs addressing if rural communities are to benefit from it.
He explains why areas like Murupara and Te Kaha are considered hard to staff.
He says Health Work Force New Zealand runs the scheme and uses district health boards to measure areas that are hard to staff.
Dr Scott-Jones says unfortunately, the Bay assessment includes Tauranga which isn't difficult to attract people to.
He says the likes of Opotiki, Te Kaha and Murupara subsequently miss out because they come under the BOPDHB.
He admits there are parts to the scheme which are beneficial, like the Health Work Force adding GPs to its list.
Dr Scott-Jones says usually you have to elect to go on the VBS as soon as you start working and that a lot of people join general practice after working in hospitals for a few years.
He says what the scheme hasn't done, is change the way it defines the hard to staff areas.