Communiqué and Recommendations
Twelve hundred delegates brought to the 9th National Rural Health Conference in Albury a range of experiences and reports of health conditions throughout rural and remote Australia. For seventeen years, these biennial conferences have provided up-to-date audits of the state of health in country Australia. Only two issues have been on the agenda over the whole of that period and they remain unfinished business today. Indigenous life expectancy is still unacceptably low, and the rural and remote health sector has renewed its commitment to play its part in ensuring that Indigenous Australians have equal health status within a generation. The second ongoing and unresolved issue is that, despite significant increases in the quantity of research and the fact that Australia leads the way in rural and remote health research and organisation, there is still an insufficient focus within national research programs on rural and remote health and wellbeing.
Delegates agreed a set of eighteen priority recommendations covering Indigenous health, mental health, arts-in-health, the health workforce and research that could help rural communities deal with the health and social affects of the drought. These will inform the immediate agenda for organisations in the rural and remote health sector, including the NRHA.
Full Set of Conference Recommendations
The National Rural Health Alliance has collated this list of 250 recommendations from delegates at the 9th National Rural Health Conference held in Albury, 7-10 March 2007. This full set provides a useful snapshot of people’s thinking on rural and remote health as at March 2007. It is clear that there are a number of successful local programs that should be replicated more widely, many good ideas about how health workforce challenges can be overcome, and quite a number of specific research proposals relating to rural and remote health. At the same time, the recommendations make clear the anxiety of the sector about boundary issues between jurisdictions, professions and practice modes, and about how health reform at local, state and national levels could improve outcomes for patients.
Recommendations Media Release
The 9th National Rural Health Conference finished in Albury today with encouragement to the health sector that it can effect the change it needs if it remains active, political and united. And the 1200 delegates had no shortage of ideas about the ways in which health in rural and remote areas can be improved. Over 250 recommendations were produced, with their thrust captured in a Conference communiqué.