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Greater Confidence In Rural Health Services

MEDIA RELEASE

Hon Wyatt Creech Minister of Health 8 July 1999

Greater Confidence In Rural Health Services

"Rural communities are enjoying greater confidence in the security and certainty of their services. We will continue to build that certainty," Health Minister Wyatt Creech said today.

"The Government's Rural Health Policy released today confirms the commitment to rural New Zealanders getting the right services at the right time by the right people.

"It complements the Hospital Services Plan and the Roadside to Bedside emergency services plan.

"Over recent years communities have been driving the solutions to their health needs. All over the country local solutions to local needs have been developed.

"The National led Government sees the future health services moving significantly in this direction. We want to see more of this.

"Our rural health services take account of the isolation of the communities, clinical and technological advances, better transport and new techniques," Mr Creech said.

A draft Rural Health Policy was released for consultation in October last year. The final document reflects people's views and submissions.

The Rural Health Policy aims to:

· enable rural people to receive effective front line care in their own community

· organise services around people and their needs

· recognise the diversity of rural communities and their differing needs

· provide timely access to acute emergency services

· use technology to reduce the impact of isolation

· establish alliances and networks between providers

· develop and maintain skills in rural services

· offer greater certainty about access to services

· create opportunities for rural community to develop local solutions to local needs

"This approach to rural health services has meant new and better services in rural pockets all over the country.

"There's the Patea and District Medical Community Trust which has come up with a solution to keep GPs in Patea, the rural nurse led health services in Takapau, the Opotiki Health Facility, the Dannevirke Community Hospital, the Kaitaia Maternity service, the Balclutha integrated healthcare facility, the Te Puke Hauora Trust ....the list goes on.

"The Rural Health Policy draws together the Government's approach to health services in rural areas, and highlights examples of where these approaches are working well.

"The policy ensures rural people receive effective appropriate front-line care in their community and have timely access to acute emergency services," Mr Creech said.

ENDS

The Minister of Health today met with representatives of Dannevirke Community Hospital to discuss the Rural Health Policy. Copies of policy available on www.executive.govt.nz

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