20 steps to equal health for rural people by 2020

In evidence last week to the Senate Inquiry into Factors affecting the supply of health services and health professionals in rural areas, the National Rural Health Alliance proposed a 20-point plan to reduce the poorer health status experienced by people in rural and remote areas.

Each element of the plan is specific enough to be adopted by governments as a new policy proposal and, between them, the 20 cover the lifetime path of an individual who might train, work, mentor and then transition to retirement - all within the rural and remote health sector.

The proposal begins its chronological path with action to attract more students from rural and remote areas into health science courses, and ends with initiatives to make better use of mature-aged practitioners who are willing to provide support and mentoring on a part-time basis to students and junior health professionals on placement or training in rural areas.

Intermediary elements include active recruitment of more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to health professions; positive modelling of rural practice by teachers at university; and a campaign to make sure students and new health practitioners are aware of the professional and family benefits of rural practice and the financial support that is available to assist them in making their professional contribution in rural areas.

Press Release

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