NSW Rural Doctors Network office opening

NSW Rural Doctors Network today opened new offices in Newcastle that will become a hub for rural health practitioners and organisations to the benefit of thousands of rural and remote communities across New South Wales.

Page last updated: 08 December 2016

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8 December

NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN) today opened new offices in Newcastle that will become a hub for rural health practitioners and organisations to the benefit of thousands of rural and remote communities across New South Wales.

The RDN, and other Rural Workforce Agencies, are playing a key role in the Government’s rural health reforms, building partnerships and recruiting and supporting a world-class rural health workforce to deliver world-class health services to people in the bush.

Federal Assistant Minister for Rural Health, Dr David Gillespie performed the official opening and said that the NSW RDN had been exemplary in advocating for rural health workers and rural communities for over 20 years, with many of their initiatives provided models for collaborative reform.

“NSW RDN has long been a key facilitator with other organisations to fill workforce gaps, and is a real model for a cohesive approach to health services and innovation to expand rural and remote access to healthcare,” Dr Gillespie said.

“Their close partnerships to coordinate solutions to GP, nursing, dental and allied health resourcing issues with Local Health Districts, Aboriginal health services, Primary Health Networks, and other relevant stakeholders means rural communities in NSW are getting better care, when and where they need it.”

Recent successful initiatives by NSW RDN include continuing work with the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council, increasing the delivery of eye health services and audiometry services under the Rural Health Outreach Fund program through the Visiting Optometrists Scheme, the recruitment of almost 200 nursing and allied health professionals under the Rural Health Professionals Program, and 58 new dentists starting work across 38 different towns through the Dental Relocation and Infrastructure Scheme.

“Rural and remote health is one of the government’s key health priorities,” said Dr Gillespie, “and the rural health system is built on the skills and commitment of the regional, rural and remote health workforce.”

“The Government has made this the key to reforms – recruiting, training and retaining high calibre people, from the rural GP to the visiting specialists, and all the hard working rural health practitioners in between. The appointment of Australia’s first Rural Health Commissioner will provide a high profile advocate to ensure these issues stay in focus.”

Dr Gillespie praised outgoing RDN CEO Dr Ian Cameron, who has been a beacon for rural and remote health, and a tireless advocate for more than 20 years.

“Dr Cameron’s legacy is enormous, and it is through the work of people like Ian that we can be where we are today – with such a sophisticated and forward looking attitude to how we can provide the best health care to all Australians – and to making rural and remote health an innovative, world class endeavour,” Dr Gillespie said.

“The opening of the new offices today in Newcastle marks a new chapter, with new CEO Richard Colbran, and further opportunities for collaboration and partnership in rural and remote health. The Government is looking forward to working together to refine the operation of Rural Workforce Agencies in the coming months, to bring further improvements to health outcomes for rural communities, remote communities, and Indigenous communities far and wide.

“The people in rural and remote communities make an enormous contribution to Australia’s economic and cultural life, and the government wants to ensure they have the health care they need, when they need it, and in ways that it best suits them to receive it – no matter where they live.”

For more information, contact the Minister's Office on 0435 686 313

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