New Zealand cannot place more medical students and junior doctors into work experience because there is not enough senior staff to supervise them, new research has found.
Researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington said medical clinics and hospitals across the country were already training the maximum number of medical students, junior doctors and nurses possible.
The issue had come about because New Zealand's current GP workforce was ageing and fewer in number than the amount of students taking up medical studies and graduating as junior doctors, study co-author Dr Samantha Murton said.
"GPs and practice staff say there is little space at present for increasing numbers of trainees in practices."
She said the number of placements available to medical students may have to be reduced in the future so that those who have already graduated as junior doctors and GP registrars can be assured of gaining work experience.
These workplace placements, under the supervision of senior staff, are critical to building a high quality medical system, she said.
Other ways to address the issue included developing new training methods, building more consultation rooms and infrastructure and increasing the co-ordination between all groups involved in organising workplace placements.