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More relief for rural health providers


More relief for rural health providers

Associate Health Minister Damien O'Connor announced today the second round of funding to relieve rural doctors and nurses working onerous rosters.

This round sees just under a million dollars ($950,000) allocated to a further 15 providers, bringing the total allocated so far to about $3.5 million over two years for 42 rural health providers.

"This money is being especially targeted at GPs and nurses who work in isolated areas and are regularly on-call," said Mr O'Connor.

Two more rounds next year will see a further $600,000 allocated.

"Along with $13.5 million allocated to the District Health Boards specifically for rural recruitment and retention, the allocations represent a significant injection for many rural practices," he said.

The roster relief funding is part of the rural component ($32 million over three years) of the $400 million, three-year primary health care funding package.

The Ministry of Health funds the first two years. In the third and out years (from July 1 2004), the ongoing responsibility for allocating this funding will shift to Primary Health Organisations.

Applications for the reasonable roster funding were made through District Health Boards to the Ministry of Health, where they were assessed by a working group of Ministry and rural sector representatives.

Two-thirds were funded in the first round, and in the second round 15 of the 26 eligible applications have received funding, including six that were deferred from the first round.

The closing date for the next round of applications is at the end of February, with the final round closing in April 2003.

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