Eastern Southlanders will soon have the opportunity to give input as to what wellbeing and health services they would like to see in the area.
In Gore last week, nine organisations signed a charter agreeing to work together as one of the new locality groups being established under the New Zealand health reforms.
The Hokonui Localities Roopu is the name of the Eastern Southland group, which will seek community input and then form a locality plan to deliver what is identified.
Throughout New Zealand, 12 localities will initially be established but eventually every area will have its own locality.
National localities team codirector Kylie Ormrod said the next step for the group was to gather information from the community and then form a locality plan.
‘‘[This] will be the basis on which health and social and community services are planned and organised.
‘‘Localities are wider than just health.
‘‘We’re talking about the wellbeing of people.’’
The Hokonui locality was the third group to sign a charter.
Hokonui Runanga kaitoko matauranga Jo Brand said the locality model should ensure the voice of the community was heard, which would help improve health outcomes for everyone.
‘‘We need to make sure that all areas are servicing the need of those living there.’’
Southern Community Health Council representative Bronnie Grant said the locality model was an exciting development.
It would allow the Hokonui locality to explore what the specific needs of the people in the area were.
‘‘It’s not a one-size-fits-all, which is kind of how we’ve been cast in the past.’’
Gore Health chief executive Karl Metzler said while the hospital had a role as the ‘‘shiny ambulance at the bottom of the hill’’, the locality model would allow other factors which caused ill-health and poor wellbeing to be identified and dealt with.
It would also provide a platform for different groups to work together to improve wellbeing.
For example, Gore’s Main St had ‘‘an overwhelming number of fast foods outlets’’.
‘‘We have to know that those kinds of things will impact the long-term health outcomes of our community.’’