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Additional funding for rural health practitioners

Additional funding for rural health practitioners

Associate Health Minister Damien O’Connor today said that just over $2.5 million dollars will be allocated over the next two years to rural doctors and nurses working in isolated areas to help relieve their onerous rosters.

The first allocation of funding for this has been distributed to district health boards now, following applications in August.

Funding allocated to each District Health Board in the August reasonable roster funding round

District Health Board 2002/03 (GST inclusive) 2003/04 (GST inclusive)
Auckland DHB $56,250 $84,375
Bay of Plenty DHB $26,100 $39,150
Canterbury DHB $89,400 $134,100
Lakes DHB $53,625 $80,438
Northland DHB $121,501 $182,250
Otago DHB $190,108 $285,161
Southland DHB $125,251 $187,875
Taranaki DHB $79,500 $119,250
Waikato DHB $90,750 $77,063
West Coast DHB $207,001 $310,500
Total $1,039,487 $1,500,161

Mr O’Connor said this first round of funding was especially targeted at largely isolated areas where a doctor or nurse might be on-call every night and weekend.

"Over time, the aim is to provide more reasonable on-call rosters for all rural areas with onerous rosters now.”

The $2.5 million is part of the rural component ($32 million over three years) of the $400 million, three-year primary health care funding package Health Minister Annette King announced in March this year. The Health Ministry will allocate an additional $1.6 million in three further rounds after which Primary Health Organisations will take over. The PHOs will have a further $2.6 million for improving on-call rosters in the 2004/05 financial year. "We envisage that by 2004/5 most if not all rural areas will be receiving their funding through PHOs," Mr O’Connor said.

He said rural practice could provide a rewarding lifestyle for doctors and their families. However it is important they had time to enjoy it.

“This money, along with a further $13.5 million District Health Boards have been granted to help recruit and retain health professionals in rural areas, should help rural practices overcome problems with staff shortages."

Applications for the reasonable roster funding included proposals to up-skill nurses to share rosters, employ weekend locums and provide nurse triage services.

Applications were made through DHBs to the Health Ministry, where they were assessed by a working group of Ministry and rural sector representatives. Two-thirds of applicants have been funded in the first round to ensure the most difficult areas get enough money to make a difference. Applications not funded this round will be considered in the remaining three funding rounds.

The closing date for the next round of applications is 31 October 2002, with further closing dates at the end of February and April 2003.

Table of Funding: Rural Component of Primary Healthcare Strategy Funding.

2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 and outyears.
$M $M $M
Reasonable rosters (funding allocated in August application round) $1.5m (1.0) $2.6m (1.5) $2.6m
Workforce retention $4.9m $8.6m $8.6m
National recruitment initiatives $0.1m $1.7m $1.7m

Funded providers in the August reasonable roster funding round

Organisation/Shared roster area DHB 2002/03 (GST inclusive) 2003/04 (GST inclusive)
Aotea Health Centre, Great Barrier Island Auckland DHB $56,250 $84,375
Opotiki Bay of Plenty DHB $26,100 $39,150
Kaikoura Medical Centre Canterbury DHB $32,325 $48,488
Amuri and Hanmer Springs Medical Centres Canterbury DHB $23,925 $35,888
Akaroa Canterbury DHB $33,150 $49,725
Turangi Healthcare Lakes DHB $53,625 $80,438
Whakawhiti Ora Pai Community Health Service, Kaitaia Northland DHB $39,000 $58,500
Coopers Beach Medial Centre Northland DHB $41,250 $61,875
Russell Medical Centre Northland DHB $41,250 $61,875
Roxburgh Medical Services Otago DHB $35,000 $52,499
Lawrence Medical Centre Otago DHB $24,450 $36,675
Ranfury Medical Centre Otago DHB $33,158 $49,736
Palmerston Health Centre Otago DHB $37,500 $56,250
Kurow Medical Centre Otago DHB $60,000 $90,000
Lumsden Medical Centre, Mataura Medical Centre Southland DHB $60,000 $90,000
Stewart Island Southland DHB $21,750 $32,625
Tokanui Southland DHB $43,500 $65,250
Oakura, Okato and Opunake Medical Centres Taranaki DHB $49,500 $74,250
Tendele Medical Centre Taranaki DHB $15,000 $22,500
Eltham Medical Practice Taranaki DHB $15,000 $22,500
Coromandel Medical Centre Waikato DHB $19,500 $29,250
Taumarunui Trust Waikato DHB $39,375 0
Kawhia Waikato DHB $26,250 $39,375
Whangamata Medical Centre Waikato DHB $5,625 $8,438
Reefton Medical Centre West Coast DHB $36,000 $54,000
Westland Medical Centre West Coast DHB $36,000 $54,000
West Coast Rural Nurse Proposal West Coast DHB $135,001 $202,500

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