Rural and Regional Health
Rural Health Overview
The Australian Government is committed to improving health outcomes for people in regional, rural and remote Australia.
Through the 2009-10 Federal Budget, new funding was announced for rural health programs. A significant part of this investment is the Rural Health Reform – Supporting Communities with Workforce Shortages measure, a package of $134.4 million to address rural and remote health workforce shortages. This package was based on retargeting existing workforce programs to provide greater incentives for doctors to work in more remote parts of Australia and the progressive introduction of a new remoteness classification.
The new classification system, to be introduced progressively from 1 July 2009, is the Australian Geographical Classification (ASGC) Remoteness Areas (RA) System. This will replace the
Rural, Remote and Metropolitan Areas (RRMA) classification system as the basis for funding rural health programs.
Specifically, ASGC-RA categories 2 (Inner Regional) to 5 (Very Remote) will be applied to all rural workforce, education and training and service delivery programs. The adoption of ASGC-RA will help to ensure that workforce incentives meet the needs of health professionals, ‘the more remote you go, the greater the reward’, and that rural health programs are targeted to where the funding is most needed.
2009-10 Workforce Package FundingFunding under the Workforce Package has been allocated as follows:
General Practice Rural Incentives Program
The General Practice Rural Incentives Program has received new funding of $64.3 million over four years, in addition to existing funding of $189.6 million over four years.
Scaling of Rural Workforce Programs
New funding of $47.5 million over four years on top of existing funding of $108 million over four years, has been provided for the scaling of Rural Workforce Programs.
Training for Rural and Remote GPs Program
New funding of $15.5 million over four years has been allocated for the Training for Rural and Remote GPs Program, on top of existing funding of $74.2 million over four years.
Expansion of the TRRGPP to Urban GPs undertaking Locums
New funding of $5.9 million over four years, on top of existing funding of $8 million (Specialist
Obstetrician Locum Scheme) over four years has been allocated to expand the TRRGPP to Urban GPs undertaking Locums.
In 2007-08, the Government invested $550 million in targeted rural health programs which are aimed at improving access to services and increasing the number of health professionals in country Australia.
The Government has already made a range of commitments which will improve health services for rural communities, and these include:
- to identify a long-term plan for improving rural health services through the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission;
- to improve elective surgery capacity in Australia's rural and regional hospitals through the $600 million elective surgery plan;
- to help put extra nurses in country hospitals through the $81 million nursing package;
- to establish GP Super Clinics in areas where there is under-utilisation of Medicare funded services, which will include rural areas;
- to improve access to health services by providing funding under the National Rural and Remote Health Infrastructure Program;
- to improve Indigenous health through the $260 million Indigenous early childhood package;
- to expand and enhance specialist services through the Medical Specialists' Outreach Assistance Program;
- to invest in additional rural scholarships for medical students and in supporting obstetricians in rural areas;
- the establishment of an Australian Allied Health Rural and Remote Clinical Placements Scholarships Plan; and
- maternity reform including the development of a national plan.
Rural health related journalsLinks to Australian and international rural health journals.
- Australian Journal of Rural Health
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HealthBulletin - Full text
- Journal of Rural and Tropical Public Health
- Rural and Remote Health - The International Electronic Journal of Rural and Remote Health Research Education Practice & Policy. The journal which has African, European, Australasian and North American Sections was initiated in 1998 and can be found at http://www.rrh.org.au in addition it is a hub for Education For Health.
- Canadian Journal of Rural Medicine - Full text
- Maine Rural Health Research Center publications (US) - Full text
Useful LinksLinks to government websites and rural health organisations.
Australian Government websites
- Australia.gov.au - Government services for Australians
- Australian Government Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
- Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government
- Australian Government Regional Information Service (AGRIS) - Regional Entry Point - Australian Government programs and services available to people living in regional and rural Australia
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare - Australia's national agency for health and welfare statistics
- Bureau of Rural Sciences - a scientific agency within the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
- Centrelink - delivers a range of services to the Australian community
- Community.gov.au - gateway to information for families and communities
- Doctors Priority Line - a free telephone interpreting service for medical practitioners in private practice
- GrantsLINK - Australian Government grants
- National Public Toilet Map - public toilet facilities in Australian cities, towns and rural areas, and along major travel routes
- Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation - manages research and development investments for the benefit of the rural sector
- Rural Transaction Centres - includes location of operational centres
- Translating & Interpreting Service (TIS) - a national service for people who do not speak English and for English speakers needing to communicate with them
State Government websites
Rural health organisations
- Australian College of Health Service Executives aims to develop and foster excellence in health service management through education and ongoing professional development for existing and potential health service managers
- Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine the peak professional organisation for Rural and Remote Medicine (RRM) education and training in Australia.
- Australian Rural Health Education Network promotes leadership in rural health education, research and innovation
- Allied Health Professions Australia the national voice of allied health in Australia.
- Australian General Practice Network the peak national body representing 119 divisions of general practice and their state-based organisations across Australia.
- Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association a national organisation representing the public healthcare sector and the professionals working in it. www.aushealthcare.com.au
- Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association advocates for improvements in Indigenous health in Australia and encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to work in medicine by supporting Indigenous students and doctors.
- Australian Medical Association independent organisation which represents more than 27,000 doctors.
- Australian Nursing Federation
- Australian Physiotherapy Association
- Australian Rural Health Education Network - the national secretariat for the Universities Departments of Rural Health.
- Catholic Health of Australia is the largest non-Government provider grouping of health, community and aged care services in Australia.
- Charles Sturt University Centre for Inland Health aims to increase awareness of its programs and activities in promoting improvements in the health of inland rural communities and educational strategies to improve inter-professional learning and location of graduates to rural practice.
- Chiropractors Association of Australia
- Council of Ambulance Authorities peak body representing the principal statutory and other providers of member ambulance services of Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
- Council of Remote Area Nurses Australia promotes the development and delivery of safe, high quality health care to remote areas of Australia and her external Territories.
- Country Women’s Association of Australia aim to improve the conditions for women and children and make life better for families, especially those living in rural and remote Australia.
- Drug Action Week ® - aims to raise awareness about alcohol and other drug issues and promote the achievements of those who work to reduce drug-related harm. Get involved by holding your own event or participating in an event planned in your area.
- Farmsafe Australia - Major occupational health and safety organisation for rural Australia.
- Federation of Rural Australian Medical Educators promotes rural medical education as an essential and successful component of Australia’s rural medical workforce, higher education and regional development strategies.
- Frontier Services of the Uniting Church in Australia provides aged care, health and community services, and pastoral support to people in Outback Australia.
- General Practice Education and Training is a postgraduate vocational training program for medical graduates wishing to pursue a career in general practice and/or rural and remote medicine in Australia.
- Health Consumers of Rural and Remote Australia a not for profit organisation that works to improve rural health outcomes by involving consumers in the planning, implementation, management and evaluation of health services throughout non-metropolitan Australia.
- Health Workforce Australia - provides information on health workforce planning in Australia, including the activities of national committees such as the Australian Health Workforce Advisory Committee (AHWAC) (covering nursing, midwifery and allied health workforces) and the Australian Medical Workforce Advisory Committee (AMWAC) (which has responsibility for medical workforce planning).
- Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association of Australia Inc working together for equality of access to education for all students who live in rural and remote Australia.
- National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation national peak Aboriginal health body representing Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services throughout Australia.
- National Farmers' Federation - a national voice for Australian agriculture.
- National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA) - the peak national body working to improve the health of Australians living in rural and remote areas in Australia. A very useful multi-link site, with links to Australian and overseas rural health/telehealth resources, the Alliance's member bodies, a fortnightly email forum, conferences and publications.
- National Rural Health Students’ Network multidisciplinary Network representing medical, nursing and allied health students aiming to increase the health workforce and health outcomes for rural and remote Australians.
- NSW Rural Doctors Network - working to recruit, retain and support general practitioners in country NSW.
- Optometrists Association Australia
- Rural Doctors Association of Australia was formed in 1991 to give rural doctors a national voice
- Rural Health Workforce Australia is the peak body for the Rural Workforce Agencies which recruit and support rural and remote GPs in each state and the Northern Territory.
- Rural Pharmacists Australia
- Rural Pharmacy - Rural and Remote Pharmacy Workforce Development Program
- Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) National Rural Facility
- Royal College of Nursing, Australia (RCNA) - a leading professional organisation representing nurses from all practice areas throughout Australia; administers Australian Government nursing scholarships.
- Royal Flying Doctor Service is a not-for-profit charitable Service providing aeromedical emergency and primary health care services together with communication and education assistance to people who live, work and travel in regional and remote Australia.
- Rural Health Education Foundation (RHEF) - includes facility allowing rural health professionals to watch education programs through the Internet.
- Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH) - a 'grassroots' organisation whose membership consists of individual Allied Health Professionals across rural and remote Australia. SARRAH is nationally recognised as the peak body representing rural and remote Allied Health professionals.
- Vision 2020 Australia leads advocacy efforts and raises community awareness about good eye health and vision care.
Rural Media organisations
- Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis (US)
- Office of Rural Health Policy (US)
- Maine Rural Health Research Center
- Canadian Rural Partnership
- Medicare Teen Dental Plan
- Chronic Disease Dental Scheme
- Mental Health Professionals Network
- National Rural and Remote Health Infrastructure Program
- General Practice After Hours Program
- Mental health service in rural and remote areas program evaluation
- Accessibility Remoteness Index of Australia Report
- A National Health and Hospitals Network for Australia’s future
- A Healthier Future for All Australians: National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission - Final Report June 2009