Friday, 24 April 2020 15:35

More support for rural general practices

Written by  Staff Reporters
Dalton Kelly. Dalton Kelly.

The New Zealand Rural General Practice Network says it has brokered an agreement with the Ministry of Health to extend locum support.

It says this will keep vulnerable rural general practices operating as they come under mounting pressure as a result of COVID-19.

NZRGPN chief executive, Dalton Kelly said with many surgeries cancelled and urban clinics running significantly reduced services, there are urban healthcare professionals with insufficient work. At the same time, the chronic shortage of healthcare professionals in rural communities remains exacerbated by COVID-19.

“Many of New Zealand’s rural practices rely on a small number of healthcare professionals and that number is dropping every year. Rural practices are increasingly reliant on short-term, contract and international health workers.

Kelly says he is delighted that the ministry had so quickly acknowledged the opportunity to provide support for vulnerable rural practices.

He says the agreement with the ministry is to fund locums into rural communities for a broad range of healthcare staff, including GPs, nurses, nurse practitioners and practice managers. There may also be room for administrative locum support if there is a need.

“This agreement is a positive step that will enable us to better support the rural health workforce during a time of great need. It will help prevent burnout of key healthcare workers, protect their mental wellbeing and enable practices to continue serving their communities.

Dalston says he will be emailing every rural general practice in New Zealand inviting them to let NZRGPN know if they need healthcare support.

Any rural practices needing additional locum support should contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 0800 695 628.

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