March 01, 2016
More Maori surgeons needed
The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons wants to increase the number of Maori surgeons in New Zealand.
Its new Maori health action plan also promotes cultural competence as a core professional skill in its trainees and fellows.
Action plan working group member Jonathan Koea says it’s a significant step forward.
He says while New Zealand is producing record numbers of Maori doctors, very few pursue a career in surgery.
Increasing that number is key to developing a more culturally appropriate surgical workforce.
The college wants to identify and eliminate what’s stopping Maori taking up the scalpel through steps such as providing mentors to better prepare Maori doctors who intend to apply for surgical training.
Dr Koea says the action plan also calls for more surgical research into Maori health and for initiatives to address the disparities that currently exist for Maori.
There are considerable disparities in health outcomes between Maori and Pakeha, with Maori having a greater incidence, mortality rate and lower intervention rates for cardiovascular disease and cancers, and a much shorter life expectancy overall.
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