3. Expand the health research capacity of rural Australia

Health care and health promotion services in rural Australia face distinctive geographic and cultural challenges that can be overcome with dedicated research.

We seek a commitment from an incoming government to:

Create a new and specifically funded rural health focus in the Medical Research Future Fund, (a third Mission) specifically for Rural Health, and allocate 28 % of the fund to this ($360m).

Rationale

It is widely accepted that people in rural, regional and remote areas carry 1.3 times the burden of disease (ie cost, mortality and disability) of their metropolitan counterparts and that service models that meet their needs differ from those in metropolitan areas.

Reflecting the almost one-third of the national population that is rural, regional and remote and their higher disease burden, the Federal Government should require the Medical Research Future Fund to allocate almost one third of its research grants, by dollar value, to research activity that can demonstrate either general or specific relevance to the people in these areas. Currently researchers funded by the Federal Government have no requirement to include rural cohorts in their studies, nor to indicate whether their study cohorts reflect the nation’s population or demographics. This will encourage researchers to involve rural population cohorts and support rurally based researchers.

This new Mission for Rural Health within the Medical Research Future Fund would create new evidence-based approaches to treating, preventing, diagnosing and managing disease in rural, regional and remote areas. It would enable researchers, health professionals and health service providers working in these areas to share this latest knowledge and would appropriately position Australia as a global leader in rural health.

 

The Charter | Improve Indigenous health | Improve access to healthcare, especially by funding more allied health professionals into rural Australia | Expand the health research capacity of rural Australia | Create a new National Rural Health Strategy | National Rural Health Alliance - Member Body Organisations