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Extra funding for rural health a welcome surprise

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE

October 25, 2013

Extra funding for rural health a welcome surprise

The announcement that an extra $9 million will be injected into rural general practice over the next four years comes as a welcome surprise, says New Zealand Rural General Practice Network chairperson Dr Jo Scott-Jones.

“I am surprised because we have been in discussions with the Ministry of Health and District Health Boards over the rural sector’s funding formula – the Rural Ranking Score - during the past two years and were given the impression that there was no more money however more money has been made available to support rural communities and that has got to be a good thing,” says Dr Scott-Jones.

The main challenge now for rural practices is the need to engage with their PHOs in forming robust alliances with their DHBs and enter into discussions with them over funding allocations.

“The challenge for rural practices will be providing time and developing the expertise to enter into these discussions, the challenge for the PHOs and DHBs will be to empower their rural providers, and to be open and accessible and support them in this work,” says Dr Scott-Jones.

Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew this week announced the extra $9 million to support rural general practices. This is on top of the $13 million a year already earmarked for rural general practice support, i.e. Rural Bonus and Rural Premium.

The additional funding will take effect from July 1, 2014 when a new way of allocating rural funding will be rolled out.

ENDS

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