Over 120 policy recommendations have already been made by delegates attending the 13th National Rural Health Conference in Darwin. This important biennial rural health event has a reputation for being a Conference with real outcomes, and not just another ‘talkfest’. The Sharing Shed is the online forum into which Conference delegates will be loading their ideas and recommendations for improving rural and remote health and wellbeing.
For those with an interest in improving health and wellbeing in rural and remote communities, this process is important and valuable. It is also a unique opportunity to have their voice heard in formulating policy recommendations.
Some of the recommendations that have already been made focus on expanding nurse practitioner access to the Medicare Benefits Scheme to reflect the work they do; greater service flexibility to support team-based care in mental health; and prioritising safe and adequate access to maternity care in rural and remote areas. Hundreds more recommendations are expected over the next two-and-a-half days, that will highlight the pressing issues for those with a keen interest in rural and remote health.
“We know that health workers in rural, regional and remote Australia are people of action and innovation. They know what is needed and what will work. The Sharing Shed process is such a vital part of the National Rural Health Conference, because it provides a platform for delegates to have their voice heard on the best way forward for better health and wellbeing in rural and remote communities”, Gordon Gregory, CEO of the National Rural Health Alliance said.
“These proposals will describe some of the steps that can be taken to improve rural and remote health. They will be evidence-based, programmatic measures from those at the ‘coal-face’ who make such a difference to health and wellbeing in remote and rural areas. We will pass the agreed priority proposals to the Prime Minister, Ministers for Health and other people of influence as soon as the Conference in Darwin comes to an end”.
Only conference delegates can upload to the site, and comment and vote on the recommendations found there. However, if people are unable to be at the Conference they can follow developments on the Sharing Shed at www.ruralhealth.org.au/sharingshed/.
Damien Hickman – Communications 0414 380 892
Tim Kelly – Chairperson: 0438 011 383
Leanne Coleman – Conference Manager: 0407 991 854