Queenstown GPs lose rural funding

AMANDA PARKINSON
Last updated 05:00 05/02/2014

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Queenstown general practitioners will no longer be eligible for rural funding under revised Ministry of Health guidelines.

Southern District Health Board planning and funding executive director Sandra Boardman said the changes "move away" from the old rural ranking score.

"The key note for us is that the new criteria means Queenstown will no longer be considered rural," she said.

Queenstown Medical Centre chief operating officer Shane Zeederberg said the content of yesterday's health board meeting was different to the information he was provided by the Southern Primary Health Organisation.

"My understanding from the PHO is that the Alliance will make that decision and that rural practices will be apart of that," he said.

Mr Zeederberg said the funding Queenstown Medical Centre received was used to provide health services to the community.

"If any funding is lost it would mean that we would have to review our service," he said.

Ms Boardman said the Southern DHB would work closely with Queenstown practices to assist them in the transition.

Last year the Ministry of Health announced $1 million nationally to assist GPs who would no longer be eligible for rural funding.

Rural services funding will fall under the responsibility of the new Southern Healthcare Alliance Leadership Team's provision.

Southern District Health Board primary and community services portfolio manager Jim Hurring said the alliance team "holds the fate of Queenstown".

"They can overturn the ministry's criteria for rural funding," he said. Southern Primary Health Organisation chief executive Ian Macara said SHALT would discuss Queenstown practices.

"Make no mistake, it is going to be a lot of discussion between the alliance, because not only Queenstown but Oamaru is excluded under the ministry guidelines, so there is a lot of anxiety there too," he said.

Ministry of Health deputy director of general health Cathy O'Malley also confirmed the Southern PHO would receive a further $197,000 for rural services.

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