A rural health forum in Wellington has been told there is too much variation in the quality of care provided by rural hospitals.
Professor Ross Lawrenson, who also heads Auckland University's Waikato Clinical School, told the forum on Wednesday that a survey last year revealed a lack of clinical leadership and governance in rural hospitals.
However, Professor Lawrenson said there was no evidence that patients suffer from variable quality of care in rural areas.
But he said rural doctors need to try to find the time to meet to discuss clinical governance topics.
He said clinical leadership is about ensuring effective policies and guidelines are used in hospitals.