Rural Emergency Help Boosted

  • Deborah Morris
Associate Accident Rehabilitation and Compensation Insurance

South Island emergency trauma care is to be greatly improved with a new ACC funded programme called PRIME (Primary Response in Medical Emergencies) announced Hon Deborah Morris, Associate Minister of ACC and Hon Bill English, Minister of Health today.

ACC will provide for emergency retrieval services, an estimated $360,000 to rural GPs in 38 rural locations in the South Island. The programme was developed by the southern office of the Health Funding Authority.

"PRIME will fund GPs and practice nurses to attend accidents and provide first trauma response. GPs will be paid an hourly rate for call-outs, extra training will be provided and funding has been approved for the emergency equipment and supply kits.

"ACC has been working for some time with GPs so that they can provide high quality emergency response services in geographically isolated areas," said Deborah Morris

The PRIME service will continue to be gradually implemented across the country. The new training programme has been endorsed by the Rural GP Network of the NZ Medical Association and will be administered by the Order of St John.

Health Minister Bill English said, " I am pleased that all rural people can feel more secure now that immediate emergency relief is close at hand."

"As MP for Clutha-Southland, a large rural electorate, I am only too aware of the need for first trauma response in rural areas. Volunteer ambulance and fire brigades do a terrific job and I'm glad that their dedication will now be backed up by the involvement of local doctors," said Mr English.