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National rural health conference ticks all the boxes

National rural health conference ticks all the boxes

A record number of delegates were amongst the highlights of the New Zealand Rural General Practice Network’s annual conference held recently in Dunedin.

In what was the largest conference in the event’s 24-year history, 530 delegates from around New Zealand attended.

Network chief executive Dalton Kelly said this year’s conference ticked all the boxes. “The host city of Dunedin, the venue, the programme, delegate numbers, and exhibitor and sponsor support helped make this year’s conference standout.

“We were pleased to be able to bring together rural healthcare professionals from the South and North Islands and it was particularly satisfying to have almost 100 students from all sectors of health provision attend.

“The programme delivered everything we had hoped it would and the conference continued in the well-established tradition as a family-friendly, socially focussed networking event.”

Mr Kelly said a big thank you must go to all exhibitors and sponsors and especially to Medtech, the

conference's major sponsorship partner, and to Sonofi and the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) for their sponsorship and support for the Network. There were 49 exhibitors on site.

Many keynote sessions were at, or close to, capacity – with 400 in attendance per session - and concurrent sessions had on average between 30 and 40 people attending. Keynote speakers included Matt Vickers, Lesley Elliott, Canadian-based rural health educator Roger Strasser, Nigel Latta, Health Minister Jonathan Coleman, farmer and veterinarian Alison Dewes and midwifery advisor Norma Campbell.

About 162 people took part in the Pat Farry Trust Fun Run and Walk hosted by the conference and more than 160 people attended the gala dinner held at the Otago Settlers Museum. The wine and
rt auction at the dinner raised $22,000 for the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust.

Rural health practitioners were also honoured at the conference’s awards night. The 2016 Peter Snow Memorial Award went to Dr Ivan and Mrs Leonie Howie from Aotea Health Limited on Great Barrier Island.

The HPA and NZRGPN Leadership in Health Promotion in rural award went to the Kokiri Community Trust from Taumarunui. Several nurses were recognised for their services to rural health including Gemma Hutton, Sharon Sandilands, Theresa Ngamoki, Hine Loughlin and Pareake O'Brien. The RHAANZ/NZ Doctor/NZRGPN practice of the year award, as nominated by the public, went to the team at Martinborough Health Services in the Wairarapa.

Fellowships of the division rural hospital medicine were also awarded during the ceremony. Recipients were: Dr Richard Clinghan and Dr Anna Partridge.  

The new NZRGPN Board was also ratified at the AGM held during the conference:

Sharon Hansen, chairperson; Dr David Wilson, deputy chairperson, Ray Anton, treasurer; Dr Martin London, secretary; Nancy Malloy, North Island representative; Rose Lightfoot, northern North Island representative; Ross Lawrenson, western middle North Island representative; Dr Grahame Jelley,

eastern middle North Island representative; Kim Gosman, southern North Island representative; Dr James Reid, southern South Island representative; Sharron Bonnafoux, northern South Island representative; and Tania Kemp, South Island representative. Student representatives on the Board remain unchanged: Katelyn Thorn (Otago) and Blair Mason (Auckland). The Board sadly farewelled members Dr Fiona Bolden and Dr Jane Laver.


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