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Improving Care for Rural Australia

Rural doctors from around Australia completed the 2019 AMA Rural Health Issues Survey in March. The results of the survey paint a picture of a rural health system in need of investment in infrasturcture and urgent workforce support. It also reveals a dedicated and passionate workforce who have high rates of professional satisfaction and enjoy the rural lifestyle.

In 2019, rural doctors told us that their top ten priorities are:

  1. The need for extra funding and resources to support improved staffing levels at rural hospitals;
  2. Encouraging medical colleges to include rural rotations for trainees to rural areas;
  3. Ensuring that rural hospitals have modern facilities and equipment;
  4. The need for access to high-speed broadband for medical practices, encompassing general practice and specialist practice (reflecting the increasing use of telehealth);
  5. Increasing the available infrastructure, resources and supervision to support the training of junior doctors in rural areas;
  6. Establishing regional training networks to enhance opportunities for specialist training in rural areas and support rurally based career paths;
  7. Establishing more integrated programs to allow rural doctors to maintain and upgrade their procedural skills in public hospitals;
  8. Increasing incentives, such as rural incentive payments, to recruit/retain doctors to work in rural areas;
  9. Ensuring general practitioners with recognised procedural skills can access appropriate hospital credentialing and facilities; and
  10. Increasing funding for ancillary staff at rural hospitals.

The full report is available here.