February 2014

Press Release

Tue, 11th Feb 201415:08:15

Queenstown Medical Centre (QMC) press release on subject: "Queenstown GPs lose rural funding"

It is with dismay that QMC has heard through the press that a substantial portion of Queenstown primary care funding is severely at risk.

A decision already seems to have been made by the Southern District Health Board (SDHB) Planning and Funding department despite ‘planners and funders’ Ms Boardman and Mr Hurring not having taken the opportunity to visit or discuss these proposals with Queenstown GPs.

Given the lack of consultation little account could have been taken of local GPs’ work in the community.  A fall in funding will have significant effects on the ability of General Practice to provide services at their present level to the Queenstown community. 

It seems likely that the SDHB Planning and Funding team are unaware of the potentially huge consequences to other funding streams and services especially those for teaching, staff retention and for accident care that flow from the recognition of Queenstown's isolation.  This has the potential to prejudice not only GP services but that of the local "rural hospital" Lakes District Hospital.

If Queenstown's rural status is to be removed, is the DHB going to provide the services an urban area enjoys including those of a base hospital with on-site surgery, staff specialists in Surgery, Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Obstetrics and Anaesthesia, CT and MRI scanning, public hospital clinics and open access?

We understand that the basis for removing Queenstown’s "rural" status is not Ministry of Health policy but stems from a principle used by a working group which was never formally adopted as its application caused anomalies and inequality.  Adoption of this principle is not mandatory and ultimately the decision on allocation of rural funding to Queenstown rests in the hands of the Southern Health Alliance Leadership Team (SHALT).

We understand that a working group is soon to be formed to advise SHALT and that Queenstown GPs will form part of that group.   Queenstown has the support of the NZ Rural GP Network who have been working with the Ministry of Health in this area for may years and categorically support the retention of rural status for Queenstown in recognition of its geographical isolation, high visitor burden and current reliance on the comprehensive GP services in place.

QMC looks forward to working with other local GPs to advocate for our region and its community. We will seek to ensure that SHALT which "holds the fate of Queenstown" makes fair decisions with regard to the appropriate use of the substantial rural funding, which it continues to hold, for the benefit of all the Southern region outside the main centres.

Posted by: Tracey @ 15:08:15 - View comments (0)   Add a comment   |   Share on Facebook   |   Tweet this