Mobile Health Welcomes Rural Proofing Policy

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The announcement that government policy makers will have to factor rural communities into their decision making has seen Damien O’Connor receive praise for standing up for the rural communities. The Rural Proofing Policy was announced at the Mystery Creek Fieldays last month. Rural proofing means government departments are required to consider the challenges faced by the rural sector when designing and implementing Government policy.

Minister for Rural Communities Damien O’Connor highlighted just how important this change is. ​New Zealand's agriculture industry and rural communities were facing significant disruption and without rural health facilities and education, there would be nobody to use the gadgets on show at Mystery Creek, O'Connor said.

“Our rural communities are an intrinsic part of New Zealand. No matter where we live, New Zealanders deserve access to essential services, resilient infrastructure, and good information that is well communicated.”

Federated Farmers President Katie Milne congratulated the Minister for the initiative, saying the move will help embed a renewed understanding, and better protect the future of rural people.

Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa NZ chairman Martin London said it was important rural communities were considered from the outset of policy making and was optimistic about the guide's impact.

"One of the most important things is that you apply rural proofing at the beginning, not as a checklist at the end, so it becomes part of the fabric of policy," he said.

The challenges rural communities face identified in the policy were low population densities, longer travel distances resulting in extra effort and resources, limited telecommunications and transport infrastructure, and isolation.

Mobile Health welcomes the policy, says Chief Executive Mark Eager. “The rural proofing policy is good news for rural equity.”

The mobile surgical unit provides elective day surgery to rural towns, a service that focuses on bringing care closer to home for rural patients. Mobile Health’s rural health development program uses video conferencing to bring specialist education to rural health professionals, eliminating the need for travel.

 

Damien O'Connor pictured at the 2018 Mystery Creek Fieldays Health and Wellbeing Hub. 

Click here to download the Rural Proofing Guide 

rural proofing