Annual investment in rural health services is essential

Government investment in rural health services for the third consecutive year provides essential ongoing support for the provinces says Federated Farmers.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy ‘s announcement at Fieldays, shows a genuine commitment towards improving the health and emotional wellbeing of rural people.

“The funding of $500,000 from both ministries is good news for our farming communities as often initiatives are started but seldom completed without further investment to ensure long-term sustainability,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers’ Rural Health and Well-being Spokesperson.

“There is no short-term fix when it comes to addressing the state of our health services in rural areas. The funding will ideally build on the various programmes that have been put together in recent years.

“It will provide the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand(RHAANZ) and Rural Support Trusts, who have led recent rural health initiatives, with more capability and capacity to maximise their resources.

“Our RSTs are generally volunteers and retired farmers who dedicate their time and energy to helping farmers and country folk with those issues which can impact on their health and emotional wellbeing. This funding gives them access to better coordination and information on how to respond.”

Funding would support 20 workshops for rural health professionals treating people at risk of suicide, as well as the rural Clinical Champions and Medical Director.

“It’s also encouraging to see that funding will be targeted at those younger rural workers who have been identified as being the most at risk of health and wellbeing issues,” Katie says.

Federated Farmers meanwhile looks forward to the Cabinet’s pledge to look at a new mental health strategy, which will take into account the needs of our rural communities.

Source: Federated Farmers

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