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Tuesday, 04 May 2021 07:55

Rural Health is sick

Written by  Peter Burke
Dr Fiona Doolan-Noble says the proof will be in the pudding for those in rural areas after the government's healthcare reform announcement. Dr Fiona Doolan-Noble says the proof will be in the pudding for those in rural areas after the government's healthcare reform announcement.

Rural people are underserviced by the current health model, according to Dr Fiona Doolan-Noble from the Department of General Practice and Rural Health at Otago University.

Doolan-Noble is a nurse with a PhD and who specialises in rural health issues says the focus of the reforms is really good for rural - given the large number of people who work outside urban areas.

"Rural communities are the backbone of NZ," she told Rural News. "More than 700,000 people live rurally so that makes rural NZ the second biggest city in the country and I hope going forward that they are not forgotten."

Doolan-Noble says the approach of the Government's reforms is hard to argue with, but like others who have a vested interest in the reforms, she says the detail and who sits around the table in a given locality will ultimately shape the outcome for communities. She adds that one of the issues to be addressed is that of dental care. She says this is a significant problem in areas such as the West Coast of the South Island.

Doolan-Noble says the changes will take time and the proof will be in the detail.

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