This week approximately 400 rural health professionals and administrators will come together at Wairakei Resort in Taupō for this year’s National Rural Health Conference.
This conference is the first ‘in person’ health professionals conference in 2021 and the biggest event for rural health professionals for close to two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister of Health Hon. Andrew Little will open Conference on Friday 30 April.
Among the many other excellent speakers to present over the two days are Associate Minister of Health Hon. Peeni Henare and Martin Hefford from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Transition Unit.
The Conference is organised by the New Zealand Rural General Practice Network.
The Network’s Chief Executive Dr Grant Davidson, says “the timing of this Conference could not be better, less than two weeks after the Government has announced major health reforms that will impact all of New Zealand.”
“It is well documented that rural health outcomes are inequitable compared with urban populations, and that the rural health workforce is in a crisis situation.”
“Yet, Minister Little made no reference to rural communities being a priority population in his speech about the reforms. The rural health sector is eager to learn if, and how, he attends to address this inequity when he speaks to open the Conference.”
The range of presentations and workshops over the two days will cover other hot topics in the rural health sector including burnout, COVID-19, telehealth, Māori health and wellbeing, and more.
Dr Davidson says the theme of Reconnecting Rural – Kanohi ki te kanohi celebrates the opportunity to come together face-to-face to connect and celebrate many of the achievements from 2020 and the first quarter of 2021.
“Doctors, nurses and their families have been under real pressure due to the workforce shortages, and the pressures of COVID-19 have only accentuated this. The ability to meet with colleagues, share experiences and network will be invaluable.”