Following the 12th National Rural Health Conference (Adelaide, 7-10 April 2013) and based on the work undertaken at it, the NRHA has endorsed a set of fourteen recommendations which reflect many of the Alliance's current priorities.
In brief, the fourteen priority areas are:
- for political parties to re-confirm and meet their commitment to provide robust and adaptable high speed broadband to all rural and remote areas;
- for food security for rural and remote Australia, ensuring access to fresh, good quality and affordable food;
- the ongoing publication of accurate data relating to health status that are specific to location and permit comparisons between major cities, regional and remote areas;
- recognition by governments of the role of community arts in health - is for healing and wellbeing, for communicating health and lifestyle messages, and for community development;
- for the development of a coordinated national framework to ensure a comprehensive approach to eye health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
- for the Living Longer, Living Better legislation to take account of the particular vulnerabilities of older people living in rural and remote communities, including higher costs of living, a higher proportion with low incomes, greater isolation, and greater exposure to adverse weather events;
- for regular, preventive-oriented oral health care and treatment to be available to all people in Australia, including in rural areas;
- investing in maternity services in rural and remote areas along the lines proposed in the National Maternity Services Plan and the Rural Maternity Services Consensus Framework, including through Birthing on Country models for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women under a safety and quality framework, and through the employment of a greater number of midwives;
- a cross-sectoral, rights-based approach to addressing the issues relating to early childhood in rural and remote areas, led by the National Children’s Commissioner;
- to have more sustainable models of specialist health services in rural areas, including through service agreements and clinical governance structures that ensure continuity and networking of services in rural areas;
- expanded and new initiatives for encouraging more allied health providers to provide integrated health, aged and disability care in rural and remote areas;
- a burst of telehealth development to benefit people in rural and remote Australia that does not undermine the provision of face-to-face specialist services but is driven by clients’ needs for timely and quality care;
- close engagement between health students and early career health professionals to maximise the benefits of health student advocacy and leadership; and
- a greater number of culturally respectful health promotion campaigns and more screening and treatment work relating to chronic conditions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The NRHA itself will work to secure action on these priorities and encourages its Member Bodies and any other organisation that supports them to do likewise.