AUCKLAND • A rural general practitioner in New Zealand is offering a salary of NZ$400,000 (S$377,088) for a doctor to share his workload, but after two years there have been no takers.
Dr Alan Kenny co-owns a medical practice in the North Island town of Tokoroa. He told the New Zealand Herald that he has so many patients that he has had to cancel holidays because he cannot find a temporary replacement.
And it is impossible to find a full time doctor, despite offering double the usual GP's salary plus three months' annual leave and no weekend or night work.
"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," said Dr Kenny
He blames the attractions of city life for young doctors' lack of interest in living in a small town.
Dr Kenny, who is originally from the United Kingdom, has been a doctor for 30 years. His daughter Sarah has also joined the booming practice as a GP, but is the only New Zealander.
Other doctors working at the group practice commute from other North Island towns.
The New Zealand Rural General Practice Network's deputy chief executive, Ms Linda Reynolds, told the Herald that the majority of rural GP vacancies were filled by international medical graduates - and that it was not unusual to take at least two years to fill positions.
She said potential candidates dislike the isolation of small towns, limited school options and poor access to broadband networks.
Tokoroa is about an hour's drive from tourism destinations Rotorua, Waitomo and Taupo and has a population of around 13,000.