Addressing health care inequities faced by regional, rural and remote communities across New South Wales was a key focus of the Australian-NSW Government Bilateral Regional Health Forum held in Tamworth today.
Co-chaired by Assistant Minister Emma McBride on behalf of the Australian Government, and Minister Bronnie Taylor on behalf of the NSW Government, the meeting identified areas for ongoing collaboration between the two governments.
It also focused on collaborative approaches to rebuilding the rural and regional health workforce in NSW across primary health care, mental health and aged care.
It was agreed that the five innovative trials of different approaches to primary care provision in rural NSW offered the strongest potential for further collaboration.
The Ministers also agreed to:
- addressing the distortions in regional health care service delivery,
- removing impediments to allow clinicians, such as nurse practitioners, to work to the top of their scope of practice, and
- strengthening clinical placements and ensuring opportunities between both public and primary care.
The ongoing implementation of the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement was highlighted as a key action area, while the Ministers agreed to prioritise their focus on responses to future disasters and youth mental health and wellbeing.
The short and longer term challenges facing aged care services in regional NSW were also discussed.
The meeting communique is available online here. The next meeting is expected to be held in mid-2023.
Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister, Emma McBride:
“We must work together to test innovative ways to boost the health and aged care workforce in the bush and attract and support more doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to these areas.
“I was pleased to highlight the Albanese Government’s $146 million investment in the rural health workforce at today’s bilateral meeting and demonstrate how we will improve health care for regional communities across NSW through genuine collaboration.
“I look forward to continuing to work with the NSW Government to find practical solutions to our common purpose of delivering better care to people living in the regions.”
Quotes attributable to NSW Minister, Bronnie Taylor:
“It is the NSW Government’s absolute priority to ensure that, no matter where you live in our state, you have access to the health services that you need and deserve.
“Every day we are working with our Federal counterparts to ensure we exceed the health needs of our rural and regional communities. Today was not only about highlighting our key priorities but also deciding on a way forward that has the wellbeing of rural and regional NSW communities at its heart.
“I look forward to continuing this relationship with the Federal Government as we identify where we can all do better and work together to improve the delivery of healthcare in the bush.”