New Zealand Rural General Practice Network chief executive Dalton Kelly warns that a foundation of our rural communities – the ability to access healthcare – is now under serious threat.

Recently we've seen junior doctors and teachers both taking extensive strike action for better conditions. It's inconvenienced a lot of people – operating schedules have been disrupted, procedures delayed, rosters shuffled, costs incurred, parents forced to take leave, childcare arrangements thrown up in the air.

If rural healthcare providers were to take the same action, it's likely there would be catastrophic consequences. That's because there are fewer and fewer doctors