Priorities for the rural and remote health sector

02 May 2011

Priorities for the rural and remote health sector
The 31-member Alliance has endorsed the priority recommendations approved by delegates at the 11th National Rural Health Conference in Perth, who represented a substantial cross-section of those concerned with the challenges in rural and remote health.
This endorsement will reinvigorate the Alliance’s advocacy in certain areas and set new directions in others. The overall goal of the Alliance is to achieve equal health for people who live in rural, regional and remote areas.
By accepting some of the responsibility for action on the conference recommendations, the Alliance is committed to using its networks and other resources to follow up with those agencies and individuals that are in a position to act.
Some priority recommendations will inform and strengthen established policy directions - including the one on Indigenous health. Led by its two Indigenous members, the Alliance will seek expert views on the current situation with ear health among Aboriginal children and what developments or barriers to progress there might be over which the Alliance may have some influence.
Similarly, the proposals on dental and mental health will encourage the Alliance to focus on some selected issues in these areas that have long been high priorities.
Other recommendations will increase the focus on the Government’s work to develop a National Food Plan, and to build on the capacity of well-prepared and well-supported health service managers to improve services and health in rural and remote areas.
The 11th Conference also instructed the Alliance to continue pursuing for effective partnerships between the arts and health sectors, and for better IT capacity and connectivity in areas away from Australia’s major cities.
Effective action on these fronts will require clear views about the order in which policy commitments need to be made and who is responsible for each. Some of the ideas to be directed at governments will be broken down into specific New Policy Proposals for future Budget considerations.