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PHO bonanza for Bay of Plenty

PHO bonanza for Bay of Plenty

The formation of four new Primary Health Organisations in Bay of Plenty have been welcomed by Associate Health and Rural Affairs Minister Damien O'Connor, who says the region will be providing some of the best, low-cost health care in the country.

Mr O'Connor said he was fortunate enough to visit much of the East Coast and Bay of Plenty earlier in the year, and he was heartened to see so much effort going into the establishment of PHOs and the reduction of what have been quite serious health inequalities in this region.

"From this week, an estimated 61,000 Bay of Plenty residents will have access to low-cost, quality health care through the four new PHOs. Many of these people live in isolated areas, and have in the past been deprived of health care they deserve because of that isolation and lack of services.

"They now have access to greatly improved services, community-driven, at a fraction of the cost they used to pay. No longer will Bay of Plenty people feel the need to put off seeking medical help or preventative services because of their physical location, or cost."

The PHOs, Kawerau Interim PHO, Te Ao Hau, Eastern Bay of Plenty PHO, and Nga Mataapuna Oranga, are four of 22 new PHOs that started up around the country on April 1, bringing the total nationwide to 34. About one million New Zealanders now receive their primary health care through PHOs.

Mr O'Connor said PHOs weren't just about providing affordable health care, but about getting people, who wouldn't normally, to visit their doctor early and to stay well.

"As Associate Minister for Rural Affairs, I am particularly pleased to see that rural dwellers are now receiving the same level and quality of care urban folk enjoy."

The Government has allocated $400 million in new money over three years for primary health care. More PHOs will be announced in July.

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