Submission to the NSW Legislative Assembly Select Committee

13 October 2023

Full title:

Submission to the NSW Legislative Assembly Select Committee on Remote, Rural and Regional Health Inquiry into the Implementation of Portfolio Committee No 2 recommendations relating to workforce issues, workplace culture and funding considerations for remote, rural and regional health 

Introduction 

The National Rural Health Alliance (the Alliance) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the New South Wales (NSW) Legislative Assembly Select Committee on Remote, Rural and Regional Health Inquiry into the Implementation of Portfolio Committee No 2 recommendations relating to workforce issues, workplace culture and funding considerations for remote, rural and regional health. 

In January 2021, the Alliance made a comprehensive submission to the NSW Legislative Council Portfolio Committee No 2 Inquiry into Health Outcomes and Access to Health and Hospital Services in Rural, Regional and Remote NSW (the NSW Inquiry). The Alliance was pleased to see a comprehensive set of recommendations coming out of this Inquiry and the outline of progress that has been made in NSW to work towards better access to health care for NSW rural residents. 

The gaps in rural health – key findings 

A 2023 report released by the Alliance – Evidence base for additional investment in rural health in Australia1 – provides data on the annual health spending deficit in rural Australia compared to metropolitan Australia. It demonstrates that rural Australia has a health access spending deficit of $6.55 billion annually, equating on average to $848.02 less expenditure annually per rural person for accessing health care, when compared to their urban counterparts. The report looks at the overall Australian picture; unfortunately, data analysis constraints mean that the information cannot be provided at a state and territory level. 

The report was commissioned by the Alliance and undertaken independently by Nous Group. The Nous report identified a triple disadvantage for rural Australians: negative social determinants of health, poor service availability, and higher cost of access and delivery have resulted in poor health outcomes. This does not include the additional stresses of fires, floods, droughts and other disasters that negatively impact rural communities...

 

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