Rural Health Services
Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program
The Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program improves access to specialist services in rural and remote Australia.
The Australian Government provides a range of programs which specifically aim to improve health and medical service delivery by increasing access to medical specialists for people living in rural and remote communities. This is achieved by reducing some of the financial disincentives incurred by medical specialists in providing outreach services. Funds are available for the costs of travel, meals and accommodation, facility fees, administrative support at the outreach location, lease and transport of equipment, telephone support and
up-skilling sessions for resident health professionals. This program also complements outreach medical specialist services provided by the governments of each state and the Northern Territory.
MSOAP services are prioritised based on community need and endorsed by an advisory forum operating in each state and in the Northern Territory. Services are reviewed annually to ensure they remain a priority for the region in which they are delivered. MSOAP currently provides around 1800 services annually to rural and remote communities across Australia.
MSOAP will be expanded from 2009-10 to introduce the following elements:
- Indigenous Chronic Disease multi-disciplinary teams comprised of specialists, general practitioners and allied health professionals to better manage complex and chronic health conditions in rural and remote Indigenous communities. Funding of $54.9 million has been allocated to this measure over four years from 2009-10, which forms part of the Australian Government’s commitment to Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes. The first year will focus on the development of needs assessments and service plans, with service delivery commencing from 1 July 2010. More information about the this measure can be accessed at http://www.health.gov.au/tackling-chronic-disease; and
- Multi-disciplinary maternity service teams comprised of obstetricians and/or registered midwives, registered maternal and child health nurses and/or allied health professionals to better support women and their babies living in rural and remote Australia. Funding of $10.7 million over four years has been allocated to this initiative from 1 July 2010, as part of the Australian Government’s Maternity Services Reform package that was announced in the 2009-10 Federal Budget. Women and their babies will benefit from improved access to a range of antenatal and post-natal services in their home locations.
- Medicare Teen Dental Plan
- Chronic Disease Dental Scheme
- Mental Health Professionals Network
- National Rural and Remote Health Infrastructure Program
- General Practice After Hours Program
- GP Super Clinics National Program Guide 2010
- The Primary Health Care Research, Evaluation and Development (PHCRED) Strategy Phase three 2010-14 publication
- A National Health and Hospitals Network for Australia’s future
- A Healthier Future for All Australians: National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission - Final Report June 2009
The guidelines can be accessed for the core MSOAP and the Indigenous Chronic Disease expansion of MSOAP.
For more information about the Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program please contact the relevant office of the Department of Health and Ageing or the State or Northern Territory fundholders. Alternatively, contact the Department's rural health information line on 1800 020 787 or by email.
Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program - State/Territory office contacts
Medical Specialist Outreach Assistance Program - State/Territory fundholder contacts