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Good News On Health

13 May 2005 PR 067/05
Good News On Health

Federated Farmers applauds the government's new national accommodation and travel policy, which will provide easier access to rural families requiring specialist health care, said Don Nicolson, a National Board member of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

The $36 million-a-year policy announced today by Associate Health and Rural Affairs Minister Damien O'Connor is aimed at helping people referred by a publicly-funded specialist to publicly-funded specialist services outside their area.

"The minister said it is imperative that all New Zealanders, no matter where they live have access to timely, quality, healthcare – quite frankly, we couldn’t agree more," Mr Nicolson said.

“Patients and their families have encountered problems in the past with proving eligibility for travel and accommodation support and it has not been clear where and how they should go about making a claim.

"Many specialist healthcare services are limited to only three or four locations around the country. This places a huge burden on self-employed people in isolated areas who must travel a long way to a hospital, have no family support when they get there, and spend a long time away from their farms.

"Our members have no problem with world class services being restricted to limited locations, but this policy recognises that those living in isolated areas shouldn’t be disadvantaged simply by the location and nature of their business," Mr Nicolson said.

ENDS

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