More Health Professionals and Services for Rural Australia

More Health Professionals and Services for Rural Australia

30 May 2013

Australians living in rural and remote areas will have better access to essential medical services thanks to a $179 million investment from the Gillard Government that will bring more health professionals to areas that have found it hard to attract them.

This investment will increase access to maternity and paediatric services, eye health, mental health and support chronic disease management and mean about 250,000 visits to the doctor, nurse or allied health professional.

Experienced organisations in each state and territory have been selected to encourage more health professionals to provide outreach health services to people in rural and remote areas. Additional funding has also been provided to an organisation in each state and territory to specifically boost outreach services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek and the Minister for Indigenous Health Warren Snowdon said the successful organisations would work to boost vital health services in areas where they were most needed.

The Gillard Government wants to make it easier for people to get vital medical services when and where they need them, said Ms Plibersek.

The successful organisations will be responsible for identifying and breaking down the barriers that prevent GPs and other health professionals from working in rural and remote parts of their state or territory.

Each organisation will develop a plan of action to successfully deliver outreach services to areas of need.

This includes the cost of travel, meals and accommodation, facility fees, administrative support at the outreach location, lease and transport of equipment, telephone support and up-skilling sessions for resident health professionals.

In addition, the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine will be funded to help integrate telehealth services into outreach areas so GPs can link up with health specialists to discuss patient health, she said.

Mr Snowdon said many Aboriginal communities experienced difficulty attracting health professionals due to the costs associated with working in remote and isolated areas.

Providing specialist services in Aboriginal homelands and other remote locations can be expensive, so funding will be available through these organisations to help health professionals travel to these areas to deliver much needed services, he said.

The Australian Government wants everyone to have access to essential health services close to their homes, and outreach services are a great solution for people living in isolated parts of the nation.

The funding will be provided through the Rural Health Outreach Fund and the Medical Outreach Indigenous Chronic Disease Program. Organisations were selected following a national competitive tender process. A list of the successful applicants is provided below.
Successful organisations under the Rural Health Outreach Fund