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Palliative care funds and services must filter to rural area

Palliative care funds and services must filter through to rural communities

“Elective surgery, more bowel cancer screening and additional palliative care funding are the health highlights in today’s Budget and are all commendable initiatives, but we need to ensure that funds and services filter through to rural communities,” says New Zealand Rural General Practice Network chief executive Dalton Kelly.

A $76.1 million funding package to help hospices expand palliative care services and support 60 new nurse specialists, palliative care educators and support roles is good news but much of palliative care in the future will need to be delivered in rural areas, he says.

“In reality our rural communities are more vulnerable than their suburban and urban counterparts because of the tyrannies of distance and time to access these types of services and we need to ensure that services are available within rural communities.

“Palliative care is for people of all ages, should be provided according to each person’s needs, be available wherever the individual is and provided by all health care professionals backed by specialist support where necessary.”

Mr Kelly said he had hoped for “more for rural” in the budget as it is paramount that rural communities New Zealand-wide, share in any additional services, staff and resources.

“We need to ensure that the more than 600,000 people living in rural New Zealand have well-resourced providers and services.”

ENDS

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