Rural communities are suffering through a lack of access to decent health services, it is dangerous and it is time something was done about it says Rural Women New Zealand.
“The health and wellbeing of rural communities is at risk of further deterioration if something is not done soon to resolve the issues facing people who live, work and play in rural Aotearoa New Zealand,” says RWNZ National President, Gill Naylor.
She said the challenges rural families face with access to health services were just about too many to list.
“However, a few that stand out are the lack of rural midwives, lack of rural nurses and GPs, lack of rural mental health services, delays in emergency services such as ambulances and long distances to travel for such services as allied health and cancer treatment.
“Whilst we are pleased to see the Government commit to both a women’s health strategy and a rural health strategy – we are wanting to see resource and plans activated to ensure rural women and girls do not miss out on health needs because of their post code.
“One of the solutions we have heard is increasing the availability of telehealth which we support, however, that will only work where digital connectivity is fit for purpose – and there are many rural communities without this.
“We know the challenges are because of a mixture of business models which don’t suit rural communities and global challenges with the covid pandemic, staffing, and training, however, the Government really have to take the lead by resourcing solutions.
“Rural communities are the backbone of Aotearoa New Zealand and deserve equity in the provision of health services.
“RWNZ is looking forward to working with the Government and health providers to ensure that the rural health strategy and women’s health strategy work for rural communities – our lives depend on it,” says Mrs Naylor.