Rural healht page graphic
Rural healht page graphic
One of Waikato District Health Board’s priorities is planning for clinical sustainability in rural health services and exploring opportunities to get the rural health workforce better joined up.

The 21,220 square kilometre district covered by Waikato DHB includes extensive rural areas, rural communities and small towns. In fact 60 per cent of Waikato’s population lives outside the main city of Hamilton.

Providing health services for people living in rural areas comes with its own set of issues:

  • It takes longer and costs more for people to travel to hospitals and other health services.
  • Attracting and retaining doctors and other health staff can be more difficult.
  • Health services can often be fragmented and provided by a number of different secondary and primary organisations who may not be linked up locally or regionally.
  • People in some rural areas can be poorer and more likely to face some health issues.

Examples of approaches to rural health integration

For many years Waikato DHB has worked with local communities and other health organisations to find models of rural health care that are sustainable and provide rural communities with access to health services.

As the funder of services, and as a provider of hospital and health services in all communities across the district, Waikato DHB has a key role to play in making rural health services sustainable and integrated.

Different communities are taking different approaches, but the common goal is modern, integrated health service delivery for rural people.

  • South Waikato Health Centre

    Co-location of a number of primary health providers in two totally refurbished ward areas at Tokoroa Hospital, creating a foundation for further integration in future.

    More information on this project

  • Taumarunui integrated health care model

    Primary and secondary health providers working together to develop agreed principles of collaboration and pathways of care in the north Ruapehu district.

    More information on this project 

  • North King Country health workforce development

    In the Northern King Country/Te Kuiti area, health providers from secondary, primary and voluntary organisations have been working together for many years to recruit and retain health professionals.

    More information about this project

There is a strong focus on connecting up secondary (hospital based) and primary (community based) services, wherever they are, so that

  • patients have a more continuous path through the health care system
  • there is less duplication of health sector resources
  • there is a focus on prevention and early intervention, rather than waiting until a health condition is in a serious stage.

The DHB’s process of community health forums provides regular opportunities for communities to know about plans and to raise issues.

Developments in technology are providing opportunities to link rural facilities and rural health professionals with their colleagues in secondary and tertiary hospitals.

Share Subscribe

Last modified: