At the beginning of November, Luke and John visited a selection of rural towns in the Waikato to meet with GPs and rural medical professionals and assess how the NZLocums team can help alleviate workforce issues.
Early November brought with it one of the highlights of the NZLocums yearly calendar: one of our rural practice visits. This year, John and I spent November 1-2 visiting rural practices in the Waikato.
Of course, a trip out to rural New Zealand is always a pleasure. We get to see parts of the country we very rarely visit and chat with all different kinds of people, and this trip was no different.
Most importantly though, these visits allow us to get to know and see first-hand the rural practices that we work with. By getting out to places like Tokoroa or Paeroa, we’re able to better understand what those practices need from us and the challenges they face.
This trip saw us visit Tokoroa, Putaruru, Matamata, Morrinsville, Te Aroha, and Paeroa, and in each of these towns we had the opportunity to spend time with practice managers and the local health professionals working in these practices. Getting that face-to-face interaction gives us a better understanding of the local situation. We learn what the local community needs and expects from their GPs. We get an idea of what those GPs need to meet the requirements of the community. We also get a feel for the community and the local flavour of a place.
Altogether, this sort of experience is valuable for us because, on top of learning what these rural practices need from us, we can get a better idea of whether our prospective candidates are well suited to a given location.
We found the rural towns in the Waikato lively, welcoming, and a great fit for a GP or NP looking to be placed in a centrally located community with access to the outdoors in any direction. Rural Waikato has the benefit of being close enough to urban centres while still retaining their rural character and lifestyle.
We look forward to our next trip out, but for now the steady work of placing locums continues as we do our best to ensure rural communities get the best health care they can.