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Trends and applicant characteristics in New Zealand: Radiation oncology versus radiology

Yassar Alamri, Khalid Alsahli, Danus Ravindran


Introduction: Previous research has projected future shortages in radiation oncologistsin Australia. Anecdotal evidence also suggests a similar pattern in New Zealand, howevershortages in the radiology workforce have not been forecast to date. The present study aimed to examine the trends in applications for radiation oncology and radiology positions in New Zealand.

Methods: Data were collected on vocational training applicants and senior medical officer (SMO, consultant) positions from 2009 to 2016. Data were obtained from publicly-available data on the New Zealand Ministry of Health and Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) websites.

Results: Compared with radiation oncology, applications to radiology significantly outnumbered the available positions—a trend that escalated between 2009 and 2016. In addition, the radiation oncology SMO workforce in New Zealand attracted progressively fewer local graduates (i.e., more international medical graduates) compared with radiology over the period studied.

Conclusions: This is the first study to shed light on trends in applications to the two specialties overseen by RANZCR in New Zealand. Future efforts should focus on attracting more trainees to radiation oncology and addressing factors underlying the apparent discrepancies between the two specialties, as well as the mental health and wellbeing of trainees.


radiology; radiation oncology; junior doctor; New Zealand; career choice

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