Improved health care for women in rural Australia
The Federal Government has announced seventeen new sites to provide women in remote and rural parts of Australia with improved access to female general practitioners.
17 June 2002
Improved health care for women in rural AustraliaThe Federal Government has announced seventeen new sites to provide women in remote and rural parts of Australia with improved access to female general practitioners.
The $2 million-a-year Rural Women's General Practitioner Service has been extended to include areas such as Coonamble, Sea Lake, Mt Magnet, Morawa, Cunnamulla, Kimba, Borroloola and Pilbara Western Desert, bringing the total number of locations to more than 170 nationwide.
Announced by the Federal Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay Patterson, the extra services will improve access to primary and secondary health services for women in regional and rural areas.
"The services, delivered by the Royal Flying Doctor Service, will provide women in larger rural and remote communities, who have little or no access to a female GP, with the opportunity to seek the health care of their choice," said Senator Patterson.
"Sometimes women prefer to discuss some of their more sensitive health conditions with a female doctor. This is a choice urban women take for granted, but it is often not an option available to many women living in rural areas.
"In the early planning stages for new services, there is an extensive consultation process with community organisations and existing service providers. This is a very basic way of ensuring the services are meaningful to the community."
The services will also provide education and self-help information as a preventative measure for the community, and particularly for women, who often place their own wellbeing as a relatively low priority. The program was implemented in 1999 and will receive funding of $8.2 million over four years.
"This is one more tool tackling the issue of getting more doctors and improved services to rural Australia," said Senator Patterson.
The Rural Women's General Practitioner Service is complemented by a range of initiatives which fall under the Commonwealth's $562 million Regional Health Strategy - More Doctors, Better Services. The strategy, launched in 2000-2001, aims to improve the range of health care services and strengthen the health workforce in rural communities across Australia.
Media Contact: Randal Markey, Media Adviser, Senator Kay Patterson's Office (02) 6277 7220
Ian Watt, Public Affairs, Department of Health and Ageing (02) 6289 5442