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A third medical school focused on rural needs proposed by National will make a huge difference to struggling communities in the south, Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker says.

“I have medical practises across Clutha Southland that are screaming out for GPs, often being forced to use very expensive locums because they can’t find anyone locally,” Mr Walker says.

“To make matter worse, around half of all GPs are expected to retire within the next ten years.”

“It’s hard enough convincing farmers and men in particular to visit their GP let alone getting them to go if the GP is a 90-minute drive away.”

“This problem is only going to get more severe before it gets better.”

“This Government isn’t doing anything to help us in the south at the moment, with the Southern Institute of Technology losing its autonomy, the Tiwai Smelter facing closure, Lumsden Maternity Centre being downgraded and the ill-thought-out forestry policies which are killing off small rural communities.”

“National has listened to rural New Zealand and the south and will explore a third medical school focused on retaining GPs in rural communities.”

“This is something the previous National Government committed too and was cancelled by the current Government.”

“National backs rural communities, they shouldn’t be missing out on vital health services.”

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