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No surprises, no benefits for rural health in Budget 2012

PRESS RELEASE: New Zealand Rural General Practice Network, May 24, 2012

No surprises, no benefits for rural health in Budget 2012

There appear to be no big gains but no big losses for rural health in the Government’s Budget announced today, says New Zealand Rural General Practice Network chairman Dr Jo Scott-Jones.

Overall Budget 2012 provides an extra $1.5 billion for public health services over the next four years. This includes $435 million for new initiatives made up of $358 million in new money for health, $47 million of savings and under-spends, and $30 million from drugs coming off patent.
Training for 18 more GPs and an extra $4 million over the next four years to expand the Voluntary Bonding Scheme to include medical radio therapists and medical physicists are amongst new initiatives announced in the Budget.

“A budget usually gives a big-picture view of things and it is hard to see the benefits that rural communities will get specifically out of this year’s Budget,” says Dr Scott-Jones.

“It is pleasing to see the Voluntary Bonding Scheme (VBS) being supported; however I had hoped the scheme would have included rural primary care nursing as a specialty, something we had asked the Ministry of Health to consider last year.

“Of the 18 extra places for GP training, hopefully all of them will come and work in rural communities,” say s Dr Scott-Jones.

The New Zealand Rural General Practice Network is a not-for-profit organisation that advocates for rural general practices New Zealand-wide. It operates a separate arm that recruits GPs and Nurse Practitioners to work in rural New Zealand.

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