Thursday, 02 April 2020 13:08

COVID-19: Virus hits rural medical practices

Written by  David Anderson
Dalton Kelly. Dalton Kelly.

Questions are being raised about the level of medical care rural New Zealanders can access under COVID-19 alert level 4 restrictions.

The New Zealand Rural General Practice Network says it is concerned that the COVID-19 outbreak will have a serious impact on rural New Zealanders ability to get the medical care they need compared to people who live in urban centres.  

The NZRGPN says it is working closely with rural healthcare practices to make sure they have the staff and resources they need to care for their patients. 

Chief executive, Dalton Kelly, says there is already have a fabulous pool of medical staff who are ready and able to help out across rural areas if things get worse. 

Kelly says the network is also receiving offers of help from urban healthcare professionals whose main jobs have slowed right down as surgical procedures are cancelled and number of patient consultations in practices have significantly reduced. 

“Many of New Zealand’s rural practices rely on a very small number of healthcare professionals and that number is dropping every year. Helping rural practices access the skills and expertise of urban doctors, nurses and practice managers will help ensure our rural communities and general practices get through this pandemic in good shape.”

Kelly says he’s aware of rural health professionals catching COVID-19 and that is having a significant impact on a region’s healthcare service.

“This morning I have emailed every rural general practice in New Zealand inviting them to let us know if they need additional staff to get through this time,” Kelly says. 

“We are in a fortunate position that we have a fantastic pool of highly-skilled healthcare professionals well and truly prepared to travel and support our rural communities during this period. We are also in discussion with the Ministry of Health seeking further financial support to reduce the extra costs for rural practices”

Any rural or provincial practices needing additional healthcare resources, or urban healthcare professionals seeking a rural posting, should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 0800 695 628.

More like this

Farmers brace for uncertain times

Rural Support Trust chair Neil Bateup says there is a lot of apprehension among farmers about the future as they follow and experience the disruptions caused by Covid and also by the war in Ukraine.

A defining year ahead!

The coming year is looming as a defining one for New Zealand farming, according to Rabobank agricultural analyst Genevieve Steven.

Rising up to challenges

Dr Danny Donaghy is professor of dairy systems at Massey University and a specialist in pasture agronomy and physiology.


Govt invests in wool

The Government says it is investing to create new product categories and new international markets for strong wool and is…

Machinery & Products

Making life easier

Many temporary sheep fencing systems can be troublesome, with reels jamming or breaking and the bugbear of silly hooks on…

Valtra's following grows

With the release of its N5 and T5 series of tractors, Valtra continues to expand its presence in the Australia-New…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

No free ride!

OPINION: This old mutt is getting somewhat tired of multi-national, tax-dodging, fund-raising group Greenpeace always given front and centre mainstream…

How come?

OPINION: A mate of yours truly is questioning exactly why the Māori ag sector have been given special budget funding by…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter