Rural health at risk of flatline
and we must think innovatively and act differently to create a new, more flexible and better connected Southern health system,’’ she said.
This played a central role in the creation of the Primary and Community Strategy, which had been developed with the intention of improving services for all parts of the district, and most definitely for rural communities, Gestro said.
Health was one of the big winners in the Budget announcement this week but what it means for rural health services in the south is still unclear.
Southern District Health Board chief executive Chris Fleming said it was good news for the health board, as it went some way to recognising the tremendous financial pressure all District Health Boards were under.
‘‘There are still significant cost pressures within the health system, and this does not solve all the challenges we face,’’ he said.
Although the increase in funding raised hope in Southland communities that there might be a reprieve for the likes of the Lumsden Maternity Centre, it was early days yet when it came to understanding what the impact of the budget would be.
‘‘We are yet to learn the details of the announcements, and therefore are not yet in a position to say how it will impact services at Southern DHB. This will become clearer in the coming weeks, and will be factored into our planning for 2018/19 and beyond accordingly,’’ Fleming said.
Invercargill-based Labour MP Liz Craig said health and rural communities were important to Government, as should be apparent from the budget released on Thursday.
The Government was mindful of the particular challenges in providing quality healthcare in large sparsely populated communities like those here in the south, which was why it had established the rural communities portfolio, she said.