Rural health boost a much-needed change

The state’s peak agricultural body says a plan to boost the rural health workforce is a good step in the right direction.

This week NSW Rural Health Minister Bronnie Taylor revealed an $883 million plan to get health workers to stay and work in the bush, something NSW Farmers member and retired occupational therapist Sarah Thompson said was much-needed.

“As people move to the regions for affordable housing they put more strain on already-stretched health infrastructure,” Mrs Thompson said.

“We had called for practical solutions to address this problem and it’s great to see some of the ideas put forward by the Minister.”

Mrs Thompson appeared before the Parliamentary Inquiry into Health Outcomes & Access to Health & Hospital Services in Rural, Regional & Remote NSW at the end of last year, identifying the need for more nurse practitioners and allied health professionals in smaller communities, as well as a plan to draw city-based doctors to regional areas.

“No Australian should go without physical access to a doctor or nurse, and while telehealth has helped overcome some of the geographical barriers, we desperately need a long-term solution,” Mrs Thompson said.

“I am particularly pleased to see relocation grants and incentives to keep workers in rural, regional and remote areas, and the idea to get city based doctors in to the bush on secondment is also good.

“However, it will be critical to also focus on building the recruitment and professional development of those moving to these areas along with the housing they will need, so that there is a sustainable increase in health professionals living and working with their families in regional and particularly remote areas.”

Date: Friday, June 17, 2022
Media Contact: Steve Mudd  | 0429 011 690 | [email protected]