Release: Labour pledges biggest ever increase to training Doctors

Labour will deliver the largest ever increase to the number of doctors trained each year, adding an additional 335 doctors a year to our health workforce from 2027, Labour Leader Chris Hipkins has announced.

  • Training an additional 335 doctors every year from 2027.
  • 95 additional places in each of 2025, 2026, and 2027 on top of the 50 more places starting next year.
  • Increasing the total number of doctors trained to 874 each year.

“We need more doctors given the decades of underfunding of our health system, and this record boost to our doctor training will make a difference for years to come,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Labour believes every New Zealander deserves access to world class healthcare and that means having access to Doctors when needed.

“Labour will increase the number of doctors trained yearly, scaling up each year until we are training an extra 335 doctors every year form 2027 – a 62 percent increase over current levels.

“This starts with the additional 50 doctors places a year the Labour Government announced as part of New Zealand’s Health Workforce Plan and adds 95 more each year for three years to bring the total amount of doctors trained yearly to 874,” Chris Hipkins said.

A re-elected Labour government will provide relief to our valuable health workers by adding significant additional staff to ease the pressure on many roles, Labour Spokesperson for Health Dr Ayesha Verrall said.

  • Creating 700 extra nursing places in 2024
  • Expanding new ‘earn and learn’ training opportunities
  • Increasing international recruitment allowing us to recruit 300 additional Senior Medical Officers
  • Settling pay equity for hospital midwives, continuing improving pay for the health workforce
  • Scaling up earn-as-you-learn modular training
  • Continue prioritising key health professions through the Green List and review regularly to plug skill gaps

“Our health workers have done more for New Zealanders than people will ever know, holding the system together not just through COVID, but for years preceding due to years of neglect and underinvestment,” Ayesha Verrall said.

“Since 2017 we immediately sought to turn that around, and despite the pandemic we are making good progress. We’ve increased the top of the nurses’ salary scale by almost $40,000 from $66,000 to $103,000, we now have 4,800 more nurses, 1,800 more doctors, and 700 more psychologists.

“We’ve launched a massive rebuild programme to improve our hospitals, build new ones, and upgrade our health infrastructure.

“We’ve already made doctor’s visits cheaper for more than three million people, boosted funding for PHARMAC by $440m (51 per cent), so more New Zealanders can access more publicly-funded medicine, and expanded the Nurses in Schools programme.

“There is still so much to do. We understand things are still hard for many New Zealanders, but we are starting to move the dial and with the worst of the pandemic over, we’re free to drive our plan forward at a greater speed.

“We simply cannot risk the Coalition of Cuts taking us back to a time where front line services were neglected, workers pay in real terms went backwards, and sewage ran down the walls of hospitals. National’s talent tax will also drive away the doctors, GPs, nurses and midwives we need to build the workforce through immigration.

“Only a re-elected Labour government has a plan to build the health workforce we need for the future, while continuing to back our health workers and give New Zealanders the world class health care we all deserve,” Ayesha Verrall said.

“Labour has invested heavily in our health system. We have a job to finish and ensuring we have the staff we need is top of our list of priorities for our next term,” Chris Hipkins said.

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