Wednesday, February 17, 2010

[EQ] Rural Health: Challenges of Distance, Opportunities for Innovation

Rural Health: Challenges of Distance, Opportunities for Innovation

National Health Committee. Wellington, New Zealand - February 2010

Available online PDF [124p.] at:$File/rural-health-challenges-opportunities.PDF

“….Rural Health: Challenges of Distance, Opportunities for Innovation focuses on how to protect and improve the health status of people living in rural New Zealand communities.
The report examines the very real challenges faced in delivering sustainable, comprehensive health and disability services to rural communities and highlights the need for, and makes recommendations for improvements in three key areas: service delivery; system performance; and planning, data collection and research.

New Zealand rural communities are diverse with small populations spread over large geographic areas. In its report, the National Health Committee identifies a variety of factors that might impede people’s access to health and disability services in rural areas including socioeconomic deprivation, geographical barriers and distance, transport, telecommunications, the cost of accessing services and the acceptability of services. The National Health Committee concludes that these are all things that need to be addressed if the health needs of people living in rural areas are to be met.

The report identifies a number of recommendations and suggests actions to enable better access to health and disability services, with an emphasis on providing:

·         rural communities with comprehensive primary health care

·         supportive medical and non-medical technology

·         visiting services and transport support

·         supportive business models

·         community governance

·         increased scopes of practice

·         flexible, sustainable and efficient contract and funding arrangements…”

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