Nestled in the beautiful New Zealand countryside, you would think young doctors from around the world would be keen to move to Tokoroa.
Add a yearly salary of $400,000 (£190,000), no night or weekend work, low house prices, a four day week, 12 weeks” annual holiday and being offered half of the GP practice, and Dr Alan Kenny should be turning people away.
But the 61-year-old has spent two years trying to recruit his replacement and, for the past four months, has not even received an expression of interest.
Dr Kenny works in a six-doctor practice in Tokoroa, a town of about 13,500 people around 130 miles south of Auckland.
He moved from the UK for the job 30 years ago but admits that the town”s distance from the big city and the large workload may have contributed to the current lack of interest in the job from medical graduates.
Like many countries, New Zealand struggles to recruit young GPs to rural areas, with a report last year finding that 37% of rural positions were vacant the previous year, something Dr Kenny blames on a lack of medical students from those areas.
Dr Kenny”s practice has grown to more than 6,000 patients, success that allows him to offer a salary around twice the norm for a New Zealand GP.
But the downside is that he can no longer keep up with the workload so is seeking a younger doctor to share his job or take it over completely.
“It”s a huge problem to find replacements or find locums,” he told the New Zealand Herald.
“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.”
He told the newspaper that he had seen 43 patients the previous day, working from 8.30am until 6pm without a lunch break.
“I love my work and I would like to stay but I hit my head against a brick wall trying to attract doctors.”