Support for People Living in Remote and Rural Areas

For people who live in the bush, universal entitlement under Medicare does not always translate to universal access to services due to the limited availability of doctors.

National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission Fact Sheet

Flexible funding to meet local needs
More innovative models to meet the health needs of remote and rural Australians
Patients able to afford travel for necessary health care
Providing the workforce needed for rural Australia
More information

For people who live in the bush, universal entitlement under Medicare does not always translate to universal access to services due to the limited availability of doctors.

Flexible funding to meet local needs

More flexible funding arrangements are required for under-served remote and rural communities to help them identify the best range of services to meet their local needs.

Under-served remote and rural communities should be provided ‘top-up’ funding for their health services.

More innovative models to meet the health needs of remote and rural Australians

Rural and remote care models should be developed and implemented. These should include networks of primary health care services, expansion of specialist outreach services, telehealth services, referral and advice networks for rural and remote practitioners, and on-call 24 hour telephone and internet consultations.

Patients able to afford travel for necessary health care

Funding for patient travel and accommodation for patients and their families should be made more nationally consistent and this should take better account of people’s out-of-pocket costs.

Providing the workforce needed for rural Australia

As well, a higher proportion of new health professional education places should be allocated to rural and regional centres.

A new Clinical Education and Training Agency should take the lead in unifying and developing strategies to improve the distribution of the health workforce – such as university fee relief, study leave and locum support.

More information

This is a summary of some of the major recommendations of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission. Full recommendations can be found in A Healthier Future For All Australians – Final Report of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission – June 2009

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Page last updated 27 July, 2009