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Hauora Tuawhenua

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The Rural Health Workstream is working towards improving health outcomes for the rural Canterbury population by enabling appropriate access to health care services in rural areas.

The Workstream is currently working to achieve equity of outcome across Canterbury by reviewing and planning the organisation and structure of rural health care services in context of the wider Canterbury health system.  This includes defining rural in the Canterbury context, promoting clinically and fiscally sustainable health services in rural areas, encouraging and recommending innovative solutions that support rural health services, and providing recommendations with a rural focus to other CCN Workstreams and Service Level Alliances.

The new Hurunui Hauora Advisory Group (HHAG) was formed late in 2021 to provide leadership for ongoing improvements and monitoring of the region’s access to health services.

18 people from across the district make up the dynamic group, with various perspectives, experiences and connections including farming, shearing, parenting, health providers, lived experience, migrant community, education, child and youth and older people, and people who identify as Māori and Filipino.

The group replaces the Hurunui Health Services Development Group (HHSDG), which was formed in 2015 to provide oversight to health service improvement and sustainability initiatives in the Hurunui region, and will report into the RHWS. 

The Oxford Community Health Advisory Group was formed late in 2020, to work alongside the with the Oxford Health Provider Alliance to progress changes that will benefit the community, and make local health services more sustainable.

These groups replace the Oxford and Surrounding Areas Health Service Development Group which was formed in 2016 to work with local health service providers and the community to develop a Model of Care for the Oxford and surrounding areas. 

The Model of Care was approved by the CCN Alliance Leadership Team in late 2018 and endorsed by the Canterbury DHB Board in early 2019. Some significant developments included work around making transport more sustainable; having additional support for mental health services; and work to create a locally-based 24/7 observation service.

Latest News
13Jul

Canterbury rural hospitals update

13 Jul, 2022 | Return|

Omicron, new COVID-19 subvariants, flu and other respiratory illnesses, are putting additional significant pressure on our health system. While this isn’t unexpected in winter, hospitals across the Canterbury region, as are other health districts around New Zealand, have been experiencing pressure.  

Te Whatu Ora - Waitaha Canterbury says continued sustained pressures on the health system have delayed re-opening its rural community hospitals in Ellesmere, Darfield and Waikari. 

“While these hospitals have been closed for longer than originally anticipated, communities, patients and staff can be assured that we have established planning and processes in place for coping with these types of seasonal pressures,” says Becky Hickmott, Executive Director of Nursing. 

“However at this stage, we do not have a definite date yet for re-opening these rural hospitals, as it is dependent on the ongoing demands of COVID-19 and other pressures on our health system, including workforce needs which continue to be challenging. 

“While we are working through when we can reopen the rural hospitals, we are also taking this opportunity to discuss with our rural communities, including our staff who are a vital part of these communities, how we might deliver in the future an improved mix of services in these rural areas that makes the best possible use of our resources and allows some services to be provided closer to home.”  

“I want to reassure people that if they need care or help from health professionals, they should keep going to the places where they would usually get care, whether it’s a GP or specialist appointment in hospital. Care and delivery will continue.  

“Moving forward, local health services are going to be designed around the needs and priorities of communities, with clear requirements for active engagement and consultation. Changes to the way health is delivered will mean local people and their communities, including iwi, will have a say on which health services are provided, and how they’ll be provided,” says Becky Hickmott.  

“This engagement, which we are in the process of getting underway, will form the basis of a plan for our rural communities.  

“We all want New Zealanders to have easier access to quality health care closer to home - no matter who they are or where they live.” 

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Useful resources

Work Plan 2021-22

For Rural Health Workstream. Read full CCN work plan.