The National Rural Health Alliance will help ensure rural health is central to the Federal Government’s proposed 10-year Primary Health Care Plan.
National Rural Health Alliance CEO, Mark Diamond, and Director of Strategy and Policy Development, Dr Jo Walker, met with Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and representatives from Regional Services Minister Mark Coulton’s office in Canberra this week.
Mr Diamond said that Minster Hunt had committed to ensuring the Government’s proposed 10-year Primary Health Care Plan would tackle many of the issues that have been of concern to the NRHA and the rural health sector for a considerable time.
“We suggested that the NRHA needed to be at the table to provide input into the Plan on behalf of its 37 member organisations and the immediate answer was ‘yes, definitely’.
“This will give us the opportunity to make sure that a truly multi-disciplinary perspective is provided on healthcare and the health workforce that’s needed in rural Australia.
“No one size fits all and it will be important that any funding supports coordinated multi-disciplinary planning suited to areas and regions.
“In a further development, Minister Hunt has asked the NRHA to look at developing the implementation process for addressing workforce shortages in areas of high need across outer regional, remote and very remote areas.
“This is significant. The Minister wants to move quickly on rolling out a process for communities to apply for financial assistance to address critical shortages of health professionals – including GPs, nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, podiatrists, dieticians, speech pathologists, in fact all the allied health professions.”
The NRHA will develop a proposal to submit to the Minister over coming weeks.