2019 AMA Rural Health Issues Survey
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:
- The need for extra funding and resources to support improved staffing levels at rural hospitals;
- Encouraging medical colleges to include rural rotations for trainees to rural areas;
- Ensuring that rural hospitals have modern facilities and equipment;
- The need for access to high-speed broadband for medical practices, encompassing general practice and specialist practice (reflecting the increasing use of telehealth);
- Increasing the available infrastructure, resources and supervision to support the training of junior doctors in rural areas;
- Establishing regional training networks to enhance opportunities for specialist training in rural areas and support rurally based career paths;
- Establishing more integrated programs to allow rural doctors to maintain and upgrade their procedural skills in public hospitals;
- Increasing incentives, such as rural incentive payments, to recruit/retain doctors to work in rural areas;
- Ensuring general practitioners with recognised procedural skills can access appropriate hospital credentialing and facilities; and
- Increasing funding for ancillary staff at rural hospitals.