Efficiently managing the planning, design, funding and quality delivery of health care is a complex and challenging issue around the globe.
The task becomes increasingly difficult in rural and remote Australia, where health care planning, programs and service delivery need to be adapted to meet the different heath needs of rural communities. Challenges that need to be overcome include: geographic spread, low population density, limited infrastructure and the significantly higher costs of rural and remote health care delivery. This has lead to the development and application of National Strategic Framework for Rural and Remote Health.
The Framework was been developed in 2009 when the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council’s (AHMAC) tasked the Rural Health Standing Committee (RHSC) to develop the Framework with the valued input of the National Rural Health Alliance and a wide range of other rural health stakeholders.
The Framework is directed at decision and policy makers at the national, state and territory levels. In order to improve rural health outcomes, the Framework promotes the need for health and prevention services, programs, workforce and supporting infrastructure designed to meet the unique characteristics, needs, strengths and challenges experienced in rural and remote parts of the country.
The Framework encompasses the provision of a large range of health-related services in rural and remote settings. This includes prevention and screening, early intervention, treatment and aged care services, and the delivery of specific health services including primary health care, hospital and emergency care, mental health, dental health, maternity health and preventative health.
The National Strategic Framework for Rural and Remote Health has to following goals:
- Improved access to appropriate and comprehensive health care
- Effective, appropriate and sustainable health care service delivery
- An appropriate, skilled and well-supported health workforce
- Collaborative health service planning and policy development
- Strong leadership, governance, transparency and accountability.
Through the promotion of a concerted effort across several fronts targeting the design, delivery and structure of health services, enhancing health technologies and infrastructure, supporting the health workforce and community capacity, the Framework will help this nation move towards its overall health goals, and reduce the inequalities in health outcomes and service delivery that are currently experienced by rural and remote Australians.
Read more about the key outcome areas at:
Rural and Regional Health Australia – Executive summary [Internet]. Ruralhealthaustralia.gov.au. 2016 [cited 5 April 2016]. Available from: http://www.ruralhealthaustralia.gov.au/internet/rha/publishing.nsf/Content/NSFRRH~ExecSum
Lincoln M, Gallego G, Dew A, Bulkeley K, Veitch C, Bundy A et al. Recruitment and retention of allied health professionals in the disability sector in rural and remote New South Wales, Australia. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability. 2013;39(1):86-97.