The Goldfields-Esperance region and WA as a whole appeared to have a minimal presence at this year's
National Rural Health Conference.
Esperance-based nurse Cheryl Piercy was the only Goldfielder at this week's four-day event, at which more
than 1100 delegates converged on Darwin.
Wrapping up yesterday, the conference included keynote speeches by 28 professionals from around
Australia, none of which had a strong focus on rural WA.
Ms Piercy said she was yet to see another soul from WA, but the issues and topics discussed helped bridge
“A lot of the speakers cover national issues anyway, primary health issues, which is what I'm interested in, so
it has been brilliant for me,” she said.
“We are all working for the same goals, which is for better health outcomes everywhere, so the whole
emphasis was it doesn't really matter where you are from, we are aiming for the same thing.”
The conference had an online platform called the Sharing Shed, where delegates could share policy
recommendations and ideas for improving rural health.
By day two, more than 120 recommendations had been made, including a focus on expanding nurse
practitioner access to the Medicare Benefits Scheme, greater service flexibility to support team-based care in
mental health and prioritising safe and adequate access to maternity care.
Ms Piercy said while she did not have any policy recommendations of her own, she had enjoyed being able to
hear various points of view on topics.
“I think we have it pretty well covered down here (in Esperance),” she said.
“I am more interested in learning from other people, to be honest.
“It is not often you get a chance to converse with people from such a variety of places, so I have been taking
advantage of that.”
With the conference now at a close, it is expected the agreed priority proposals that came from the
conference will be passed on to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and relevant ministers for health so action can be