If all the people who live in rural and remote Australia came together into a single city, that city would have a population of 7 million people and be bigger than even Sydney and Melbourne.
What if we knew that the entire population of Sydney or Melbourne, or any of our major cities had poorer access to health services? Imagine the uproar!
Yet the 7 million people who live in rural and remote Australia continue to have poorer access to healthcare when compared with their city cousins. Indeed, there is a deficit of about $2 billion in the health budget for those living in rural and remote Australia.
Imagine what would happen in Brisbane if you had to wait three weeks to see a doctor, or in Adelaide if you had to travel to Mount Gambier to see a podiatrist. Imagine what would happen in Perth if you had to leave your family and friends to travel to Geraldton to be near a birthing centre, four weeks before your baby was due.
If you live in rural and remote Australia, you routinely deal with these barriers. The result is that people in rural and remote Australia don’t get their illnesses diagnosed early enough, don’t get the support services they need and have poorer outcomes.
During the election period, the National Rural Health Alliance will be highlighting the rural and remote differences in access to health workforce, aged care and mental health because we want that to change. “We need a focus and commitment by the major parties and their candidates to addressing the funding disparity. We don’t want more funding than those in the city, we just want our fair share of the health budget, and flexibility to enable that share to be most effectively used in rural and remote areas”, says Kim Webber, CEO of the National Rural Health Alliance.
The National Rural Health Alliance encourages all voters to find out about what the major parties and their local candidates are saying and doing about rural and remote health services before they vote on 2 July.
Media Enquiries: Kim Webber, CEO 0401 006 170