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Rural health needs more than another review

Jo Goodhew MP
National Party Associate Health Spokeswoman

30 July 2008

Rural health needs more than another review

National Party Rural Health spokeswoman Jo Goodhew is calling on the Government to complete the endless reviews and take action, in the wake of warnings about worsening health access for rural New Zealand.

The New Zealand Institute of Rural Health discussion paper has reported that, despite Labour’s claims of supporting rural health, the most significant issues in rural areas remained unresolved.

“Rural health is in a grim shape, surviving on the goodwill of the existing health professionals, so it’s time for doing, not endless reviewing,” Mrs Goodhew says.

“With a total of 14% of New Zealanders living in rural areas and a drop in the GP workforce of 32% between 2000 and 2005 (latest data), we have a real crisis on our hands.”

“This Labour Government has embarked on endless reviews and reports, 54 currently listed on the Ministry of Health website.

“Three of these reviews are still unfinished three years later and affect rural health directly. The reviews are into the emergency response (PRIME) scheme, the rural ranking scores, and after-hours services.”

National’s health discussion paper looks at encouraging more medical students into rural practices by immersing them in rural areas during their training, and proposes voluntary bonding options in return for student loan write-offs for doctors working in hard-to-staff areas.

In addition, National's paper looks at a telephone advice system that would alleviate after-hours pressures that have seen GPs exit rural health.


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