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Extra funding a boost for rural midwives

Media release

15 December 2006

Extra funding a boost for rural midwives

An announcement of an extra $2 million dollars in funding for rural midwives from Associate Minister of Health Damien O'Connor is being welcomed by the Minstry of Health.

The funding will be made available from 2007, and will be allocated according to the Rural Ranking Scale, which is currently being updated to include midwives.

The existing scale applied exclusively to GPs, and had been in use since 2001. It measured data such as the distance to the nearest hospital and the amount of on-call care available, among other things.

Chief Advisor for Child and Youth Health Dr Pat Tuohy says the Ministry has consulted stakeholders on the review of the scale, and is now working with the New Zealand College of Midwives to ensure that the proposed scale is able to incorporate midwives.

He says it is expected the new scale will take into account the distances midwives need to travel in order to do their job, over what sort of terrain they have to travel, what sort of support services are available and how much on-call work is needed.

"The amount of funding allocated to each rural midwife is dependent on the outcome of that work. We envisage, however, that the money will go to individual pracitioners."

"It is anticipated that recognising the specific needs of rural communities and compensating health practitioners to provide services to these communities will assist in attracting and retaining midwives in rural areas in much the same way that the current rural bonus does for GPs", said Dr Tuohy.

ENDS

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