Funding denied to Rural Health Alliance sparks concern from rural leaders

Rural Exchange 14/04/2018

The Rural Health Alliance NZ (RHANZ) is putting its service on hold over a lack of funding, after failing to secure Government funding on Friday.

CEO Michelle Thompson told Newshub it feels like a kick in the guts, and is "symbolic" of what she calls the general underfunding of rural health services in New Zealand.

Long-serving Te Kuiti GP Dr Keith Buswell told Rural Exchange that the main challenge for the rural sector is access to health services.

Dr Buswell, who received the 2018 Peter Snow Memorial Award, said that RHANZ has been “instrumental” in its focus on the health needs of rural communities.

He expressed disappointment in the Government’s dismissal of RHANZ’s funding proposal.

“It’s disappointing to hear that the funding isn’t going be continued because it’s really important to keep that rural voice at the forefront in order to advocate for our communities.”

The RHANZ announcement comes the same week critics accused the Government of putting a "death sentence" on the Taranaki region for planning to phase out oil and gas exploration over the next 30 years.

Watch the full interview with Keith Buswell above.

Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay, Sarah Perriam and Richard Loe, 5-7am Saturday and Sunday on RadioLIVE with Carter’s Tyre Service. Click here for all the ways to watch and listen.