What kind of investment would really make a difference to the health of people in rural and remote Australia and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people? If a research fund of $500,000 per annum was dedicated to rural health research, what effect would that have? These are some questions posed by David Perkins, Editor, in the most recent edition of The Australian Journal of Rural Health (Volume 20, number 2, April).
Looking at recent Australian health policy, David Perkins suspects that many policy makers tend to think that more doctors in the bush equals better rural health. This issue of the AJRH contains some papers that explore some of the complexities that lie behind such simplistic assumptions as this.
The SOMERS Index is proposed by Somers and Spencer in their paper examining the roles of nature or nurture on the career intentions of medical undergraduates. Another paper on rural medical workforce issues, by Jones, Humphreys and Nicholson, asks whether personality is the missing link in understanding recruitment and retention of rural general practitioners. It asserts that personality does play an important role in this question and understanding how a professional and social environment ‘fits’ for an individual could well lead to better rural recruitment policies, as well as to more satisfied rural doctors (and, presumably, patients).
Another two papers in this April issue examine specialist mental health care in rural settings using novel delivery mechanisms or treatments. There is an exploration by McNamara et al of the potential of pharmacists to help reduce the burden of poorly managed cardiovascular risk, and another by Kinsman et al on the efficacy of clinical pathways regarding acute myocardial infarctions.
These and other articles and research reports are available in the latest edition of The Australian Journal of Rural Health. Have a look at the website of the AJRH’s publisher, Wiley-Blackwell: wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/AJR
Peter Brown, Manager, AJRH: 02 6285 4660