The $400,000 job with three months holiday no one wants

Dr Alan Kenny has been trying to recruit a GP for his practice in New Zealand for two years

Aerial view of the town of Tokoroa on New Zealand’s North Island. Photograph: Wikipedia

Aerial view of the town of Tokoroa on New Zealand’s North Island. Photograph: Wikipedia

 

A GP in New Zealand has been trying to find a doctor to share his practice workload for the past two years without success.

Despite offering a whopping $400,000-plus (€ 243,806), plus half his practice, 12 weeks holidays, a four day week and no night or weekend work, Dr Alan Kenny told the New Zealand Herald he has had no takers.

$400,000 after expenses is more than double a GP’s average income in New Zealand.

Tokoroa: Could you work and live there?

• 13,600 population

• 5th largest town in the Waikato region

Tokoroa Central:

• 720 people usually live there, 3.3% of South Waikato's population.

• 44 Median age

• 54.7% of people aged 15 and older have a formal qualification.

• 22% Unemployment rate for people aged 15 and over.

• $17,300 Median income for people aged 15 and over.

- Source: Statistics NZ, 2013 Census


Dr Alan Kenny (61), originally from the UK, says the problem is the job is in Tokoroa in the North Island and not in Auckland.

Tokoroa has a population of 13,600 and is the fifth largest town in the Waikato region.

In the past four months, Dr Kenny has not received a single application for the permanent position, which he believes is due to the perception of a rural general practitioner being a dead-end job.

“Auckland has the biggest medical school and most kids who go to medical school come from wealthy families in the Auckland area,” Dr Kenny told the newspaper.

“If they recruited more students from rural areas, they might actually come here.

It’s a huge problem to find replacements or find locums.

“Last year, I cancelled a holiday because I couldn’t get a locum ... and this year I am probably going to have to cancel a holiday ... and it’s just tough for me.”

The clinic’s success had led to an increase in patients in the past two years and it now had 6000, but Dr Kenny said he could not keep up with the massive workload and was looking for a younger doctor to share or even take over his work.

The upside of co-owning a successful practice was the “ridiculous income”, he said.

“I can offer them a really, really amazing income; it’s incredible. My practice has exploded in the last year and the more patients you list, the more money you get. But it just gets too much at the end of the day.

“Just because I earn lots of money doesn’t mean I want to work my butt off.”

The town’s median income is just $17,300 (€10, 537) for people aged 15 and over and Tokoroa has some of the country’s cheapest houses.