Patients and medical practitioners at rural hospitals and health centres are set to benefit from ultra-fast broadband, Health Minister Tony Ryall and Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams announced today.
Under the second phase of Rural Broadband Initiative contracts, 37 rural hospitals will receive ultra-fast broadband, including Balclutha, Dargaville, Reefton, Thames and Stratford. The contracts also provide for 10 health centres.
Mr Ryall says ultra-fast broadband will give medical practitioners anywhere in New Zealand faster access to the latest information, such as the world’s leading research and specialists, without leaving their own practice.
“Fast fibre links to hospitals nationwide will allow doctors and nurses in Dannevirke or Murchison, for example, to connect in and interact with training sessions in Wellington or Auckland.
“Another enormous benefit will be the ability for clinicians to immediately view in their own consulting rooms electronic information recorded across the country, rather than relying on the sending of reports or films. This will save precious time and money and, ultimately, lives.”
Ms Adams says providing rural hospitals with ultra-fast broadband recognises the importance of rural areas.
“It will dramatically improve broadband services for those communities, and it means that location does not need to be a barrier to receiving good, quality health care.
“Rural communities are an integral part of our economy and we cannot afford to let them fall behind.”