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