16 Nov 2011

Rural healthcare workers group wants more policies

7:05 am on 16 November 2011

The group representing rural healthcare workers says recent political party policies paint an unclear future for rural health.

The New Zealand Rural General Practice Network says the parties campaigning for this month's general election have touched on the topic of rural health but it says the policies lack depth.

Chairperson Dr Joseph Scott-Jones says rural communities represent 22% of the population and more emphasis should be placed on rural-specific health policies.

It's pleasing to see mentions of a re-appointment of a Minister of Rural Affairs and extension of the voluntary bonding scheme, which the Labour Party announced last week, he says.

However, he says there's a lack of leadership by all parties when it comes to rural health.

"We're looking for policies that relate to the retention of health providers in rural communities and also the expansion of the available workforce through supported training and also through improving working conditions and career opportunities in rural health."