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O’Connor says new regulations benefit rural areas

O’Connor says new regulations will benefit rural areas

Associate Health Minister Damien O’Connor today said new standing order regulations will provide an important basis for timely health services in rural areas.

Standing orders allow nurses and some other healthcare workers to be given the delegation to supply and administer certain medicines.

“I am confident the standing orders will be welcomed in rural New Zealand,” Mr O’Connor said.

Mr O’Connor said often the only health professional on the spot in rural areas were nurses who needed to take urgent action. “The nearest doctor could be several hours drive away.”

“The standing orders will therefore be of value for rural practitioners and nurses,“ said Mr O’Connor. “The new regulations provide another example of this Government responding to the needs of rural health.”

Many rural health professionals had used a form of standing orders in the past because of the importance of attending to medical emergencies quickly, but the application varied because of a lack of clarity over whether they were legally permissible under the Medicines Act 1981, he said.

“Now there will be a clear legal framework and greater consistency in the administration of medicines.”

Regulations will be made under the Medicines Act to specify the basis on which standing orders can be issued, including the level of competency and training required and the circumstances under which the order can be administered.

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