The National Rural Health Alliance (the Alliance) – which stands for 30 per cent of Australia’s population – will work with its 47 Members as a united voice to advocate for sustainable and affordable health services across Australia.
These sentiments were expressed at the Alliance’s first Council Meeting of 2023 hosted on 23 March 2023 at the nbn office in Sydney.
“The education, training and career journey – from school to retirement – for all medical and health practitioners working in rural and remote Australia is an important focus area for the Alliance when advocating improved healthcare access in rural and remote Australia,” said Alliance Chief Executive Susanne Tegen.
Alliance Council members engaged in extensive discussion about rural health strategies, including increasing rural health research and rural workforce development, as well as climate impact on rural and remote communities. The Alliance maintains these issues should be brought together and addressed in a National Rural Health Strategy.
Council members also highlighted that many of the issues raised can be addressed by the Alliance through continued strong advocacy and seeking long-term funding and collaboration from the federal and state governments.
The Alliance also welcomed the Hon Emma McBride MP, Assistant Minister for Rural and Regional Health, as a guest speaker.
“We thank Assistant Minister McBride for her time and candid comments about her passion and understanding of people living in rural, regional and remote Australia, and the need to support and resource rural health in these communities,” said Ms Tegen.
“We appreciate her stated confidence in us and her willingness to work with the Alliance to recognise and implement solutions to rural health challenges.
“The Alliance is committed to supporting the Assistant Minister, and other members of the government, ‘To understand the breadth of perspectives, to understand it from research and translation to practice, to understand it from service providers, to hear from students in training and early career practitioners’, as she mentioned at the meeting.
“We no longer have excuses for not changing the way we deliver and fund medical and health services, training and support for health practitioners, and research with and for rural communities.
“The Alliance, through our wide membership representing the rural health sector, maintains that bold reform is vital to achieve equitable health outcomes for rural communities.
“We will continue to advocate for the Primary care Rural Integrated Multidisciplinary Health Services (PRIM-HS) model. PRIM-HS is an evidence-based and community-led policy and funding solution that will support primary care where markets are failing or communities are without medical and healthcare services. It aims to overcome the professional, financial and social barriers to working rurally.
“We also call for a National Rural Health Strategy and Implementation Plan to respond to the healthcare challenges faced by rural populations, who contribute significantly to Australia’s economy and wellbeing. Indeed, they have kept Australia out of several global financial crises, despite regularly dealing with floods, fires and droughts,” Ms Tegen added.
Chief Executive, National Rural Health Alliance
0429 100 464
Kathya de Silva
Media and Communications Officer
0470 487 608