11 October 2018

Australia and New Zealand’s leading rural health organisations have joined forces to provide a broader focus for the Australian Journal of Rural Health (AJRH).

The October 2018 issue of the AJRH marks the start of an ongoing collaboration between the National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA) in Australia and two New Zealand organisations: the NZ Rural General Practice Network (NZRGPN), and the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa NZ (RHĀNZ).

It is envisaged that this will be the beginning of an ongoing Australasian focus for the Journal.

In this issue some prominent Australia and New Zealand rural health researchers and leaders provide a trans-Tasman commentary on important rural health topics including rural health delivery, advocacy, policy and education, for a range of health professional groups, as well as original research.

Chief Executive of the NRHA, Mark Diamond, said the Alliance has worked closely with its New Zealand counterparts to develop ideas to promote rural health practice, and acknowledged the many personal and professional links between the rural and remote health sectors in both countries.

“In both countries there is a pleasing recognition of the place and potential for rural health as a driver of regional development…the public health provider is often the biggest employer in town,” Mr Diamond said.

“That key economic role underpins the viability and amenity of those communities, contributing to the attractiveness of rural communities as a place to live and work for so many people.

Mr Diamond said the Alliance had been particularly pleased to work with the NZRGPN and RHĀNZ in collaborating on the Journal.

Chief Executive of the NZRGPN, Dalton Kelly, welcomed the Journal collaboration and said it was timely to reflect on the importance of the trans-Tasman relationship in the area of rural health service delivery and advocacy.

“New Zealand is in a position of needing to make an urgent decision around the ways in which we will address the issue of structural decline of its rural health workforce – the establishment of a rural school of health features strongly in that mix,” Mr Kelly said.

“As noted in this Journal’s editorial, there is now a significant difference in the set up and performance of our respective health systems when it comes to serving rural communities.

“We have a lot to learn from our Australian counterparts and the time to learn these lessons is now.”

The AJRH can be accessed through the National Rural Health Alliance website at www.ruralhealth.org.au

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Allan Yates Director
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