Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

National draws on Labour rural health initiatives

Hon Damien O'Connor
Associate Minister of Health
2 September 2005 Media Statement

National draws on Labour's rural health initiatives


The National party has once again drawn on Labour initiatives for its own, says Associate Health Minister Damien O'Connor.

"The National party has today released a rural health policy that mirrors work already being done in rural health. It proposes incentives to attract doctors to rural areas; Labour has numerous initiatives in place doing just that.

"Last year we raised the cap at Auckland and Otago universities, with an extra 20 places now available at each university for students from rural backgrounds, because history tells us it's people from rural backgrounds that tend to take up permanent positions in rural areas.

"We commit $8.4m annually to support rural workforce retention, $3m to recruit rural GPs and provide locum services, and $2.6m to support reasonable rosters for practices in rural areas.

"We provide $3.5m in rural bonuses that go directly to around 400 rural GPs, and we fund eight Primary Health Care Nurse practitioner (rural) scholarships a year and 44 rural Primary Health Care Nursing Post Graduate Diplomas to boost the rural workforce.

"Ten rural scholarships are provided for every year, at $15,000 per trainee, and 20 post-graduate placements at rural practices ($30,000 per trainee). And these are just some of the initiatives we have in place to encourage rural doctors.

"We also fund NZLocums, a specialist rural recruitment agency. Figures just released show the agency is meeting 85 percent of locum requests from around the country. In addition, 20 permanent placements (one year or longer) have been made or secured so far this year."

Mr O'Connor said the National Party's student loan write off scheme for health professionals working in rural areas paled in comparison to Labour's promise to scrap interest on student loans for all New Zealand based graduates. "Medical graduates will be one of the groups to benefit most from Labour's scheme.

"Meanwhile it's all very well to say you'll attract practitioners to rural areas, but rural people should be very wary of National's intention to scrap universal subsidies for health visits and cut key funding and services.

"National neglected rural health in the 1990s and Labour has been picking up the pieces ever since."

In the last three years alone, Labour had:

- Introduced a new National Travel and Accommodation policy to assist thousands more rural New Zealanders to access specialist services.

- Expanded access to primary health care through the establishment of Primary Health Organisations in rural areas.

- Committed over $10m annually to safeguard New Zealand's rural workforce, through rural retention and reasonable roster funding.

- Established a new recruitment service for short and long term locum doctors and nurse practitioners.

- Established a scholarship scheme for rural nurse practitioners and a nurse post-graduate programme.

- Established a dedicated four-person rural health team in the Ministry of Health.

- Committed funding for eight Primary Health Care Nurse practitioner (rural) scholarships a year

- Funded the Mobile Surgical Bus to go into rural areas and provide essential services and surgery, with a second bus in the pipeline.

- Set up Healthline, a 24 hours, seven days a week free health information service.

- Funded improvements to rural hospitals e.g. Thames, Dunstan and Masterton.

- Set up a $136.9 million fund to help improve drinking water systems in small New Zealand communities.

- Established the Tourism Demand Subsidy Scheme to assist small communities to meet high tourism demand through improved water and wastewater treatment systems.

The National Party had once again neglected the big picture, Mr O'Connor said. "They've tried to win votes rather than acknowledge the health needs of rural New Zealanders. Meanwhile, Labour will continue its comprehensive and long term strategy to boost the rural workforce."

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Decision Day: Peters Chooses Labour

Winston Peters says he will form a Government in coalition with Labour and the Greens giving confidence and supply.

Peters said he had been offered the position of Deputy Prime Minister and a number of other ministerial posts would go to his colleagues

He said economic and monetary policy changes were needed to face a coming economic downturn.>>>More

Reaction

Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome

 

Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>

ALSO:


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>

ALSO:

Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>

ALSO:

Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>

ALSO:

Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election