Media Releases 2016

86 documents.
Title Date
Real potential with Health Care Homes, but rolling evaluation and proper funding a must

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) says genuine commitment is needed from both the healthcare sector and Federal Government to ensure the forthcoming trial of the Health Care Homes initiative is a success in delivering guidance on how the initiative will work to best effect in the longer-term. RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said while the Association is actively encouraging its rural doctor members to participate in the trial, it will be crucial for the Government to undertake rolling evaluation of the trial and to respond quickly if any practices experience negative financial or other impacts while participating. He added that, should not enough rural or remote practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services express interest in participating in the trial, the Government should quickly reassess the level of support it is offering to encourage participation.

20/12/2016
Doctors welcome Government focus on rural medical training

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed today's announcement by the Federal Government that it will undertake a review of the distribution of medical school places in Australia, with a focus on encouraging more doctors to train and ultimately practise in rural and remote areas. In announcing the review, the Federal Assistant Minister for Rural Health, Dr David Gillespie MP, emphasised the Government's continuing priority to address the shortage of doctors in regional, rural and remote areas, and to develop ways in which this shortage can best be addressed. "We strongly welcome this important review" RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said.

14/12/2016
Practice Incentive Program redesign could be bad news for rural patients

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has warned that some proposed changes to the Federal Government's Practice Incentive Program (PIP) could negatively impact on the provision of medical services in the bush. RDAA, in collaboration with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), has written to the Federal Assistant Minister for Rural Health, Dr David Gillespie MP, asking him to intervene in the PIP Redesign process currently being undertaken by the Federal Department of Health.

13/12/2016
RDANSW media release — More recognition for service of rural GP

The Rural Doctors Association of NSW (RDANSW) has presented one of their rural GP members with the prestigious Bowman/Cutter Award. The Award was presented during the Rural GPs Conference dinner late last month. Dr Leslie Woollard, of Moree, was awarded the Bowman/Cutter Award for his long-standing support and commitment to RDANSW. The Bowman Cutter Award is awarded to a rural doctor or person who has provided exceptional services to the Rural Doctors Association of NSW Inc.

13/12/2016
RDASA media release — SA rural doctors put on hold for hours: child abuse reporting line needs urgent improvement

The Rural Doctors' Association of South Australia (RDASA) says there has been no improvement in the waiting times for rural doctors wanting to report serious cases to the Child Abuse Reporting Line (CARL) since the inception of the SA Department for Child Protection one month ago. RDASA President, Dr Gerry Considine, said he is aware of cases where rural doctors — who, under the Child Protection Act, are mandatory notifiers of suspected abuse — have been made to wait on-hold for up to 3 hours. “This is simply not appropriate use of a rural doctor’s time, and it is extremely unfair on the patients they are not able to see while they are made to wait on the phone" he said.

12/12/2016
UGPA media release — More time needed on Health Care Homes to get it right

United General Practice Australia (UGPA) has today called on the Federal Government to push back the start date on the Health Care Homes pilot project, to allow sufficient time to get this important opportunity to transform the nation’s healthcare system right. The group has stated that the implementation of the Health Care Home, including the model, the tiers, and supporting practice tools, has been rushed and risks undermining this vital opportunity to get the model right.

29/11/2016
Rural Health Commissioner an “exciting opportunity” to shape the future of rural healthcare

The Federal Government's creation of a National Rural Health Commissioner brings an exciting opportunity to shape rural health policy in Australia for the future.

 

Dr Ewen McPhee, President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), said that the position will provide the opportunity to develop innovative solutions to rural healthcare that draw upon the strengths and skills of all members of the rural healthcare team.

 

“We again strongly commend the Federal Government for acting upon RDAA's call to create this important role,” Dr McPhee said, “and we look forward to continuing to work with the Government and other stakeholders to develop the key outcomes that we all want the role to deliver.

 

"Rural doctors are the original champions of a team-based approach to rural healthcare.

25/11/2016
RDANSW and NSWRDN media release — NSW Health Minister to address Rural Doctors at annual GPs conference

Stroke, ENT, Angioedema, Urticaria, Aged Care, Hepatitis C, Teenage Depression and Ophthalmology are just some of the topics to be addressed at the 2016 Rural GPs Conference being held in Coogee this weekend. The conference is a joint initiative of the NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN) and the Rural Doctors Association of NSW (RDA NSW) and will host around 150 General Practitioners and medical students from across rural and remote New South Wales. On Saturday 26 November, delegates will hear from the NSW Health Minister, The Hon. Jillian Skinner MP, about her vision for the future of rural medicine including how the Minister and the Ministry of Health intend to support a well-trained sustainable workforce and the outcomes of the Rural Generalist Training Program.

23/11/2016
Rural doctors congratulate government on new grants program

Australian rural doctors have today welcomed the announcement of a streamlined Rural General Practice Grants (RGPG) program, just announced by Dr David Gillespie, Assistant Minister for Rural Health.

 

Dr Ewen McPhee, President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), said that the announcement was a reflection of importance the Coalition Government places on rural and remote health care.

 

“We are extremely pleased that Minister Gillespie has been so proactive in his Rural Health portfolio, and he has shown a great understanding of the need for increased training facilities to enable the education of the next generation of rural doctors,” Dr McPhee said.

18/11/2016
Welcome fix on Health Care Home concern

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed an amendment made by the Federal Government to its Health Care Home regime, following concerns expressed by RDAA and other health sector organisations.

08/11/2016
Shaky foundations will impact Health Care Homes trial...and rural patients

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has warned that, without further support for rural general practices and the patients they care for, the Federal Government's Health Care Homes trial faces the real possibility of 'falling over' in country Australia. "While we actively support in-principle the Health Care Homes approach to chronic care, unfortunately there has been little detail from the Government as to how the forthcoming Health Care Homes trial will work, particularly in rural and remote settings" RDAA Vice President, Dr John Hall, said. "And to-date, there has not been the appropriate investment required to support rural and remote practices to deliver it."

07/11/2016
Strong support for rural health from federal politicians, including PM, shows growing need for states to follow lead

The strong support shown at the recent Rural Medicine Australia conference — by federal politicians on all sides of politics — for initiatives to boost the rural doctor workforce and improve access to healthcare in the bush, signal that a 'rural health revival' is underway and that more state governments must get actively on-board. "It was immensely gratifying to see how positively engaged senior federal politicians — from right across the political spectrum — were at our joint conference with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, and how supportive they were of initiatives like the National Rural Generalist Pathway to get more of the next generation of doctors to the bush with the advanced skills needed" RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said.

25/10/2016
RDAV and RDAA joint media release — Rural doctors seek more engagement with Victorian Health Minister on key issues

Victoria’s rural doctors say they want to engage more closely with the Victorian Health Minister, Jill Hennessy MP, and her Department to build a strong future for rural health service delivery in the state. Representatives from the Rural Doctors Association of Victoria (RDAV) and Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) met recently with the Chief Medical Officer of the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, Associate Professor Andrew Wilson, and senior staff to discuss the need for strong consultation with rural clinicians, specifically following the release of the findings of the Bacchus Marsh review led by Dr Stephen Duckett.

25/10/2016
Important Rural Health Bursary awarded to inspirational Aboriginal medical student

An inspiring final year Aboriginal medical student from the Australian National University is the recipient of the MDA National and Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) Rural Health Bursary for 2016. Danielle Dries will use the Bursary funding of $7000 to analyse how Indigenous health can be increased and enhanced as a key subject in Australia’s medical and other health degrees, as well as ways to boost student learning in cross-cultural communication so as to optimise clinical relationships with Indigenous patients. The Bursary has been generously provided for a second year by MDA National as part of its ongoing partnership with RDAA.

22/10/2016
Lifetime of service recognised for South Australian
 rural GP and Air Force Doctor

Dr David Senior of Robe in South Australia has had his lifetime of service to Australia and his community acknowledged by his peers, receiving the ACRRM-RDAA Peter Graham ‘Cohuna’ Award for 2016. The Peter Graham ‘Cohuna’ Award is the highest honour that can be bestowed by the rural doctor community, and is awarded jointly by the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) in recognition of service of the highest order over many decades.

22/10/2016
NT medical student dedicated to Indigenous health receives prestigious national award

Claire Chandler from Darwin has been recognised for her dedication to remote and Indigenous health, receiving the Telstra Health RDAA Medical Student of the Year Award for 2016. Dr Ewen McPhee, President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), said Miss Chandler was an outstanding example of a medical student filled with enthusiasm for rural, remote and Indigenous health.

22/10/2016
Rural Registrar and Antarctic adventurer doctor
 wins prestigious award

Polar Medical Officer and SA-based rural doctor, Dr Kate Kloza, has been named as the Telstra Health RDAA-ACRRM Rural Registrar of the Year for 2016. Presented at a Gala dinner at the Rural Medicine Australia 2016 (RMA16) conference in Canberra, Dr Kloza was recognised for her outstanding work as both a rural doctor in South Australia, as well as a Remote Antarctic Medical Practitioner with the Australian Antarctic Division.

22/10/2016
Inspirational Goondiwindi doctor named
 Rural Doctor of the Year

Dr Sue Masel, a GP Obstetrician/Anaesthetist from Goondiwindi in Queensland, has been awarded the Telstra Health RDAA Rural Doctor of the Year Award for 2016. Dr Masel was recognised for her contribution not only to the health of her community, but her dedication to the larger community of rural doctors and her advocacy work and support on behalf of her profession.

22/10/2016
Saturday at Rural Medicine Australia

The major national conference for Australia’s rural and remote doctors, Rural Medicine Australia (RMA16), continues today (Saturday) in Canberra. RMA16 is the annual conference of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA).

22/10/2016
Keynote speakers for Saturday at the Rural Medicine Australia conference


Professor Janie Dade Smith — Janie has lived most of her life in rural and remote Australia. She is a highly experienced health educationalist and project manager who has worked extensively in national curriculum development, program accreditation, educational resource development, policy development, organisational review, Indigenous health and research. Her presentation will tell a story that applies a 'social determinants of health' lens and statistics to the real life of a family in a remote Indigenous community today.

Cas and Jonesy are two Aussie Explorers constantly pushing the boundaries of human endurance. Most recently, on 26 January 2012, they made history by completing the longest unsupported polar expedition of all time.

22/10/2016
Keynote speakers for Friday at Rural Medicine Australia conference


Dr John van Bockxmeer — John is a FACRRM working in the Emergency Department at Port Hedland, in WA. As an intern seven years ago treating lifestyle related illnesses, John saw children kicking rubbish around the hospital forecourt. Motivated to change the status quo he surrounded himself with enthusiastic volunteers and began to donate recycled sports equipment, enabling under-serviced migrant and Aboriginal Australian communities access to the benefits of healthy lifestyle choices. As an ACRRM registrar he pursued his career as a remote emergency doctor in Port Hedland whilst juggling the development of his unique health-promotion charity, now called Fair Game.

Dr Deborah Simmons — after working as a Consultant Anaesthetist in a large tertiary hospital for many years, Deborah completely changed her career path and became a Rural Generalist. She now works at Proserpine Hospital in Queensland as a Senior Medical Officer. She says being a Rural Generalist is "the most interesting, exciting and rewarding position I have ever had!"

21/10/2016
Friday at Rural Medicine Australia

The major national conference for Australia’s rural and remote doctors, Rural Medicine Australia (RMA16), continues tomorrow (Friday) in Canberra. RMA16 is the annual conference of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA).

20/10/2016
Keynote speaker for Thursday at Rural Medicine Australia conference — Melissa Sweet

Melissa Sweet is an independent journalist, author and publisher with a focus on innovation in public interest journalism and is the founding editor of the social journalism project for health, Croakey.org, where she contributes to innovation in journalism. Initiatives include the rotated curated Twitter account @WePublicHealth, the Croakey Conference News Service, and a number of crowd-funded projects such as #JustJustice.

19/10/2016
Thursday at Rural Medicine Australia

The major national conference for Australia’s rural and remote doctors, Rural Medicine Australia (RMA16), starts in earnest tomorrow (Thursday) in Canberra. Here are some of the key sessions for the day.

19/10/2016
Rural doctors to take key issues to federal politicians at important National Breakfast Forum

More than 100 federal politicians and rural doctors from across Australia will gather tomorrow (Thursday) morning at an important National Breakfast Forum in Canberra, to discuss key issues impacting on rural and remote general practices and health services, and the patients they serve. The inaugural RDAA President’s Breakfast is being held at the National Convention Centre in Canberra, just prior to the official opening of the Rural Medicine Australia 2016 conference.

19/10/2016
8,000,000 reasons to get rural health policy right — Federal health policies and reviews to be the focus of key workshops at Rural Medicine Australia conference

Major Federal Government health policies and reviews will be the focus of discussion by rural doctors, politicians and policy-makers at this week’s Rural Medicine Australia conference (RMA16) in Canberra. With more than 8,000,000 people living in rural and remote Australia, health policy decisions made by the Federal Government must work for them. In various workshops at RMA16, rural and remote doctors will have the opportunity to speak directly with key policy-makers and stakeholders about how these policies will (or will not) work on-the-ground in rural and remote communities.

19/10/2016
Rural doctors start arriving in Canberra for major annual conference

Rural doctors and medical students from across Australia are now starting to arrive in Canberra for the major annual Rural Medicine Australia conference, being held this Thursday to Saturday at the National Convention Centre. Many doctors will also be attending crucial pre- and post-conference workshops such as Rural Emergency Skills Training and Advanced Life Support, which are being held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, as well as after the conference on Sunday.

17/10/2016
More support needed to meet growing mental health need in the bush

Rural doctors and rural general practices are playing a significant frontline role in meeting the burgeoning need for mental healthcare services in the bush, but better supports are required to ensure they can sustain and further enhance this care. That's the take home message coming from the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) during Mental Health Week 2016. RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said while ensuring access to other mental health professionals and 'next level' care are important elements of the mental health system and must be improved, better supporting the primary care sector and rural general practices to boost frontline mental health services would "help enormously" in meeting the growing demand for mental health help in rural and remote Australia.

12/10/2016
Rural doctors' biggest annual event to put rural health issues in Parliament's backyard next week

Final preparations are underway for Australia’s peak national rural medical event and largest gathering of rural doctors, Rural Medicine Australia 2016 (RMA16), to be held in Canberra next week (20-22 October 2016). RMA16 is the annual conference of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), and brings together rural and remote doctors from all over Australia to refresh their advanced clinical skills, learn about new ground-breaking research and treatment techniques, and hear from prestigious keynote speakers.

11/10/2016
RDANSW and RDAA joint media release — Rural doctors to be consulted on NSW hospital privatisation plans

Representatives of NSW rural doctors say they are pleased to have now been invited to be more closely engaged in the planning phase of the privatisation of five NSW rural hospitals. NSW Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner MP, met recently with representatives from both the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) and the Rural Doctors Association of NSW (RDANSW) to discuss the NSW Government's announcement of the privatisation of Maitland, Wyong, Goulburn, Shellharbour and Bowral Hospitals. The meeting followed concerns expressed by RDANSW and RDAA regarding the privatisation of the hospitals.

05/10/2016
Suicide rates indicate need for improved access to mental health services in rural Australia

With suicide rates in Australia increasing by five per cent over the past year, it is more important than ever that access to qualified doctors be improved in rural and remote areas.

Dr Ewen McPhee, President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), said that the Causes of Death Australia 2015 report, published by The Australian Bureau of Statistics, indicated that the increasing rate of death by suicide needs urgent attention.

30/09/2016
RDAA and RDANSW joint media release — Rural patients could be short-changed by secret hospital privatisation plan

Rural doctors have expressed their shock and concern at the surprise news that the Baird Government is planning to privatise five hospitals – all of them in rural areas. Dr Ewen McPhee, President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has said that the privatisation plans raise a number of concerns. “Our first concern is the potential loss of health services to the rural areas around Maitland, Wyong, Goulburn, Shellharbour and Bowral” Dr McPhee said.

16/09/2016
Review of aged care funding cuts a relief for rural doctors

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed the Government’s announcement that it would be reviewing the $1.2 billion aged care funding cuts presented at the last Budget.

 

Dr Ewen McPhee, RDAA President, said that the proposed cuts would have placed many rural aged care facilities at risk.“Industry statistics show that nearly 40 per cent of all aged care facilities are already not financially viable,” Dr McPhee said.

 

“It is often the rurally located facilities that are most at risk, simply because of their lower number of residents.

 

“When rural towns can no longer afford to offer aged care accommodation, it has a very traumatic effect on members of the community.

16/09/2016
A time in the sun for rural health?

To everything there is a season, and it seems to be the season for rural health. That’s according to Dr Ewen McPhee, President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), who says there seems to have been a sector-wide increase of focus on rural health policy in recent months. “With the Turnbull Government working on the appointment of the promised Rural Health Commissioner, and the progress we are making on developing a Rural Generalist Training Pathway, it looks like rural health issues are going to get their time in the sun” Dr McPhee said.

13/09/2016
Major rural doctor conference heading to Canberra

Canberra will host the largest gathering of rural and remote doctors in Australia next month, when the Rural Medicine Australia 2016 (RMA16) conference is held at the National Convention Centre from 20-22 October. RMA16 is the most important event on the calendar for more than 600 rural and remote doctors, registrars, medical students, allied health professionals, and health policy-makers who come from right across Australia to attend the event. RMA16 is the joint annual conference of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA).

07/09/2016
'Low value' consults aren't always low value, rural doctors warn

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has warned the Federal Government that care must be taken with any reform of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) to ensure that doctors retain the ability to see patients for whatever level of medical care they need, even if the initial reason for their consultation may be considered 'low value' or 'routine' in terms of MBS expenditure. The Association has also urged that doctors must retain the ultimate ability under the MBS to decide if a consultation is required — rather than be constrained by a blanket requirement that 'low value' consults like providing sick certificates and repeat prescriptions only be undertaken by other health professionals.

07/09/2016
RDAT and RDAA joint media release — Rural Doctors seek to avert more closures of Tasmanian rural health services

The Rural Doctors Association of Tasmania (RDAT) and Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) are calling on Tasmania's Health Minister, Michael Ferguson MP, to meet with rural doctors to discuss the need to strengthen his Department's engagement with the Tasmanian rural health workforce to develop a statewide strategy on retaining and enhancing rural hospital and health services across the state. The move follows RDAT's continuing concern at the imminent closure of Mersey Community Hospital's maternity unit — and the impact of further service downgrades on the health needs of North West Tasmanian communities.

07/09/2016
Latest medical workforce data an alarm bell for governments

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has warned that the latest medical workforce data for Australia has shown a decline in the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) general practitioners in Remote, Very Remote and Outer Regional areas, and should be an alarm bell to governments and policy-makers that more must be done to entice and retain these doctors in the bush. The latest data is included in the 'Medical Practitioner Workforce 2015' report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

24/08/2016
RDAT and RDAA joint media release — Closing Mersey maternity unit will not help anyone, rural doctors warn

The Rural Doctors Association of Tasmania (RDAT) and Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) have urged the Tasmanian Government to urgently review its decision to close Mersey Community Hospital's maternity unit, centralising the region's birthing services to only the North West Private Hospital in Burnie. Both organisations have warned that the plan is poorly thought out and continues to rely on an extremely expensive and outdated model of locum specialists to provide obstetric care in the North West. "This decision is an absolute backward step and will do nothing to ensure better access to birthing services for expectant mothers and families in North West Tasmania — in fact, it will clearly reduce access to care" the RDAT Executive's North West representative, Dr Peter Arvier, said.

24/08/2016
Health Care Home trial sites welcomed...but it must be a trial, and it must work for rural patients

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of the regions selected to be trial sites for the Health Care Homes model of chronic care — but it has warned that the trial must be genuine and, before they are rolled-out across Australia, the trial must prove that Health Care Homes can work well for rural and remote patients, not just their urban counterparts.

24/08/2016
Increased mental health support for veterans “extremely welcome” say rural doctors

Rural doctors are welcoming the Government’s announcement that there will be an increase in the mental health support available to ADF members and veterans. Dr Ewen McPhee, President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), said that mental health support for those affected by their service needs to increase. “More than 260 Australian war veterans have committed suicide since 1999” Dr McPhee said. “This is a tragedy for the victims, their friends and family, and for our country as a whole. The review of suicide and self-harm prevention services available to veterans and ADF members announced by the Government is extremely welcome, as the figures show that the current system is failing to address the issue. We look forward to the establishment of the first Suicide Prevention Trial Site in North Queensland, and hope that the highly qualified rural doctors within the area will be able to be a part of this important initiative.”

16/08/2016
Rural doctors call for input into pharmacy review

With the Federal Government calling for submissions to the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation, the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) have said that carful consideration is key to securing the best outcomes for patients.

 

Dr Ewen McPhee, President of RDAA, said that while pharmacists may look to increase their role in some areas, it was essential that this was achieved in partnership with other health care professionals, particularly doctors.

12/08/2016
Rural doctors support visa considerations; urge better supports to boost rural medical workforce

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) says calls for GPs to be removed from the skilled occupations list for visas has to be part of Australia's future medical workforce considerations — but it has added that better supports, incentives and a National Rural Generalist Framework are urgently required to get more Australian-trained doctors to the rural and remote communities that need them. The Australian newspaper has reported today that, in an unpublished submission to the latest review of the Skilled Occupations List, the Federal Health Department has urged the removal of 41 health roles, including GPs, from the skilled occupations list for visas.

09/08/2016
Rural Doctors welcome new leadership for General Practice Colleges

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) have welcomed the new incoming President of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), saying that the College will move from strength to strength under Dr Stewarts leadership.

 

Dr Ewen McPhee, RDAA President, said he was looking forward to working with Dr Stewart, particularly towards the development of a specialised training program for Rural Generalist Doctors.

 

“We congratulate Associate Professor Ruth Stewart on her incoming Presidency of ACRRM,” Dr McPhee said.

 

05/08/2016
Key policy issues and the latest in emergency care to feature at major meeting of SA rural doctors

Over 55 rural GPs and GP registrars from across South Australia will attend their major annual conference in Adelaide from this Friday, to discuss key issues impacting on SA's rural healthcare sector and rural communities and consider the latest in new skills and approaches in emergency medical care.

 

The Rural Doctors Association of South Australia (RDASA) Masterclass 2016 will be held from Friday 5 August to Sunday 7 August at Adelaide's Rydges South Park Hotel.

 

"The Masterclass has earned a solid reputation for providing hands-on professional development, which rural doctors — being practical types — just love" said incoming RDASA President, Dr Gerry Considine, a rural GP from the Clare Valley.

 

"It enables rural GPs to further hone their knowledge and skills on important emergency medicine scenarios, and provides an important forum for frank discussion about crucial state and federal health policy issues.

04/08/2016
Rural doctors set key priorities for Rural Health Commissioner role

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has set out what it believes should be key priorities for the new role of Rural Health Commissioner, announced by the Federal Government during the election campaign. RDAA has been the key advocate of the need for a Rural Health Commissioner, and has strongly welcomed the Government’s announcement that it would establish the role.

02/08/2016
Rural doctors welcome Labor's health and rural line-up

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed the continuation of Catherine King MP as the Federal Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare, and paid tribute to outgoing Shadow Assistant Minister for Health, Stephen Jones MP, who has now been appointed to a new Shadow Ministry role.

26/07/2016
New report underlines continuing health inequities in rural and remote Australia

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) says a new report from The Grattan Institute is a timely reminder to governments and policy-makers that significant focus, action and investment is still required to deliver better access to healthcare in many rural and remote communities. Perils of place: identifying hotspots of health inequality found that 25 locations in Victoria and 38 locations in Queensland, including numerous rural and remote locations, have had potentially preventable hospitalisation rates at least fifty percent above the state average in every year for a decade. "We welcome the Grattan Institute's report as a critical reminder that there remains the need for further significant action to improve access to healthcare, particularly preventative healthcare, in the bush" RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said.

25/07/2016
Doctors welcome new Assistant Minister for Rural Health

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed the appointment of Dr David Gillespie MP as the Federal Assistant Minister for Rural Health. RDAA has also paid tribute to the outgoing Federal Minister for Rural Health, Senator Fiona Nash, who has been a strong champion for the rural health sector over many years. She will retain a number of other portfolios, including as Minister for Regional Development and Regional Communications, and will remain in Cabinet.

18/07/2016
Coalition win is a win for Rural Health

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has congratulated the Coalition on claiming the election over the weekend saying that their promised policies will make a real difference to health care in the bush.

 

RDAA President Dr Ewen McPhee, said that during their time in government the Coalition had shown a strong support for rural health issues.

 

“The appointment of Nationals Senator, Fiona Nash, as Minister for Rural Health has really raised the profile of rural health issues within the Health portfolio,” Dr McPhee said.

 

“Minister Nash announced during the campaign that a returned Coalition Government would appoint a Commissioner for Rural Health, and progress the development of a National Rural Generalist Training Pathway.

14/07/2016
Federal Election – which Party backs rural health?

With polling day tomorrow, the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) have said there are some clear front-runners when it comes to a commitment to rural health.

 

“All the major parties have now given us the details of their health policies and it is clear who best recognises the need to address the problems plaguing the delivery of health care in rural areas,” said Dr Ewen McPhee, RDAA President.

 

“RDAA presented an Election Platform to each of the Parties, and we were very pleased when both the Coalition and the Greens embraced some of the suggestions we put to them.

 

“Last week’s announcement by Senator Fiona Nash, Minister for Rural Health, on the establishment of a Rural Health Commissioner and a commitment to progressing a National Rural Generalist Training Pathway by a re-elected Coalition, was a turning point in their campaign.

01/07/2016
Rural doctors welcome Coalition’s commitment to a National Rural Health Commissioner and Training Pathway

Today’s announcement by the Coalition to introduce a National Rural Health Commissioner has been celebrated by rural doctors around Australia.

 

Dr Ewen McPhee, President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) was particularly pleased to hear of the plan, saying that it was great to see the Liberals and Nationals make a real commitment to rural health this election.

 

“We are really pleased at Minister Nash’s announcement to appoint a National Rural Health Commissioner, and a commitment to pursing a National Rural Generalist Training Pathway,” Dr McPhee said.

 

“RDAA called for the appointment of a Commissioner early in the election campaign, and it is enormously gratifying to see that it has been taken on board by the Coalition.

24/06/2016
RDAA/RDAT release - Funding cut will hurt Tassie rural patients: Doctors call on parties to save TAZREACH services

Mental healthcare, chronic care and other services to go

 

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) and Rural Doctors Association of Tasmania (RDAT) are urging the Coalition and Labor to commit to urgently reverse a substantial cut in funding for rural health outreach services in Tasmania should they be elected to government on 2 July.

 

While Federal Government funding for Tasmania's Rural Health Outreach Fund will continue for one further year, this funding has been reduced significantly from $3.9 million to $1.4 million.

 

Rural practices and other rural health providers delivering local healthcare services under TAZREACH (which allocates the outreach funding) have been informed that this will result in cuts to local health services.

23/06/2016
Major parties urged to get on board with
 national rural doctor training program

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) is calling on the major parties to commit to establish a national advanced training program for rural generalist doctors this election, to ensure the next generation of Australia's rural doctors can gain the advanced medical skills needed to work in the bush. RDAA's proposed National Rural Generalist Training Program (NRGTP) would provide a pathway for young doctors in gaining the advanced skills required for rural practice. RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said there is an urgent need for a national approach to rural generalist training in Australia.

21/06/2016
Labor commitment on pathology and diagnostic imaging great news for rural patients

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed a commitment by Australian Labor to reverse the Coalition's forthcoming cuts to bulk-billing incentives for pathology and diagnostic imaging, with RDAA saying it will greatly assist rural and remote patients to afford and access these vital services.

20/06/2016
RDAQ Media Release - Longreach ‘legend’ wins highest award
17/06/2016
RDAQ Media Release - Rural docs urge drought counselling re-think
17/06/2016
RDAQ Media Release - New president reaches out to private GPs
17/06/2016
RDAQ Media Release - Bush docs fire on Medicare rebate freeze
17/06/2016
No home runs on rural health! Time running out for the Coalition and Labor to step up to the plate

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has warned the Coalition and Labor Party that they are running out of time to outline key rural health commitments before rural voters go to the polls for the federal election. "With early voting now underway, Australians are starting to cast their votes, and those living in the bush will be seriously considering which party will best support their healthcare needs over the next term of government" RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said.

14/06/2016
Rural doctors call on major parties to commit to Rural Rescue Package

Rural doctors are calling on the major political parties to get behind a ‘Rural Rescue Package’ jointly proposed by the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) and Australian Medical Association (AMA) to attract to rural practice more doctors with the advanced medical skills needed by country communities. RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said the proposed Package would go a long way towards reversing the decline in health services available in rural and remote areas.

06/06/2016
No doctor glut in the bush: numbers hide rural medical shortage

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has warned that rural and remote Australia still faces a significant shortage of local doctors with the advanced skills needed for rural medical practice, despite coverage of a report by the Australian Population Research Institute in today's Australian newspaper indicating that Australia has an overall oversupply of doctors. "We are the first to agree that there is a maldistribution of doctors in Australia, with an oversupply in our large cities and some of our regional centres" RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said. "But this is not the case for the hundreds of small rural and remote communities across Australia that desperately need local doctors with the right skills to provide the range of advanced general practice and hospital-based services that those communities require."

01/06/2016
Greens' rural health policy good medicine for the bush

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed The Greens' rural health policy, released today, saying it is a significant step forward in improving access to healthcare for those living in rural and remote Australia. "This policy really shows that The Greens are serious about improving things in rural and remote Australia, and about helping to achieve equitable access to healthcare for those living in the bush" RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said. "It also shows they are committed to delivering a sustainable future for the rural general practices and other rural health services that underpin our rural health system."

25/05/2016
Decisions on health funding should be made by the Government, not Treasury and Finance

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) says while it welcomes comments by the Federal Health Minister, Sussan Ley MP, that she would like to end the Medicare patient rebate freeze, it is concerned that the Government's Treasury and Finance portfolios are not allowing her to do so. On ABC Radio National this morning, Minister Ley said: "I understand for doctors that the GP freeze has been difficult and I appreciate their working with us... I have said to doctors that I want that freeze lifted as soon as possible but I appreciate that Finance and Treasury aren't allowing me to do it just yet." RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said he hoped that Minister Ley's arguments for lifting the Medicare patient rebate freeze were being taken seriously by the Prime Minister, Treasurer and Finance Minister, particularly given Federal Labor has committed to removing the freeze if elected.

23/05/2016
Labor backs the bush with Medicare commitment

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has strongly welcomed today’s announcement by Federal Labor that, if elected, it will end the Coalition Government’s current freeze on Medicare patient rebate indexation, by restoring MBS indexation from 1 January 2017. “This announcement will be a sure-fire vote winner for Labor in rural and remote communities across Australia” RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said. “We have asked the major parties to #GetRealonRural! this campaign, and it looks like Labor is already starting to deliver. There’s still much more to be done to improve access to primary care in the bush, and ensure the survival of rural medical practices and other rural healthcare services, but this is a great start."

19/05/2016
Country doctors urge parties — Get Real on Rural! RDAA 2016 Election Platform launched

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has urged the major political parties to "Get Real on Rural!" for Election 2016, saying that a piecemeal approach to rural healthcare is no longer acceptable to rural and remote Australians and is costing the taxpayer more in expensive hospital-based admissions and delayed treatment of chronic disease. The call has come with the launch of RDAA's 2016 Election Platform.

18/05/2016
Remote Northern Australian doctors meet in Darwin

On Sunday 15 May, over a dozen senior doctors from remote hospitals across Northern Australia gathered for the inaugural meeting of the Northern Australia Remote Hospitals Network in Darwin. Doctors from Broome, Kununurra, Tennant Creek, Katherine, Gove, Weipa, Torres Strait and Cooktown Hospitals were represented, as well as the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section). The meeting was facilitated by the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), which has recently restarted a Northern Territory Chapter.

16/05/2016
RDAWA media release — New country option for WA medical interns in 2017

The Rural Doctors Association of Western Australia (RDAWA) has congratulated the WA Country Health Service (WACHS) on the creation of ten rurally-based medical intern placements for 2017. Under the initiative, Bunbury and Albany Hospitals in 2017 will each receive five interns. RDAWA Vice President, Dr Andrew Kirke, said the creation of rural placements has been the goal of several rural medical training organisations for many years. This is the first time that rural centres have become a year-long allocation in WA for interns.

16/05/2016
Don't beat about the bush, parties urged: get iron-clad rural health commitments out there early

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has urged the major parties to release "iron clad" rural health policy commitments early in the federal election campaign, adding that thousands of rural patients are suffering from poor health outcomes largely because they cannot access, or cannot afford to access, the local healthcare they need. RDAA has also warned that the Turnbull Government's continuing Medicare indexation freeze is driving more marginal rural practices to the wall, and has called for the freeze to end before it does "irreparable damage" to the rural health system.

09/05/2016
RDAA federal budget reaction — Cold night in Canberra: Medicare freeze to send more rural patients to healthcare 'Siberia'

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has said while there are some welcome piecemeal initiatives for rural patients in tonight's Federal Budget, the overshadowing continuation of the Medicare indexation freeze for a further two years will see more rural and remote patients unable to afford the medical care they need. RDAA has warned that the freeze will continue to bite hard on many rural and remote practices that are already struggling financially, and will further increase the barriers for rural and remote Australians in accessing local primary care. "The continuation of the Medicare freeze is going to send more rural and remote patients to the healthcare equivalent of deepest, darkest Siberia" RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said. "Those rural and remote Australians who can least afford to miss out on healthcare are being hurt the most by this irresponsible and unrelenting measure.

03/05/2016
Media alert — rural doctor budget commentary available tonight / tomorrow

A reminder that the President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), Dr Ewen McPhee, is attending tonight's Health Budget lockup in Canberra, and will be available to provide budget reaction from 7.30pm AEST. Tomorrow (Wednesday) Dr McPhee will also be available for interviews, both by phone and in person at Parliament House. Dr McPhee will hold a media doorstop tomorrow (Wednesday) at 11.30am AEST in the Senate Courtyard at Parliament House.

03/05/2016
New CEO for peak rural doctor association

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has announced the appointment of Ms Peta Rutherford as its new CEO. Peta has over 20 years' experience in the health sector, with extensive experience in health service management, planning, funding applications and the implementation of key health service and health workforce initiatives. Her career has also included an involvement with Queensland's Rural Generalist Pathway. Peta is currently Cluster Operations Manager for the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service's South Burnett Region, which involves operationally managing the region's four hospitals.

02/05/2016
Renovate, don't detonate — investment in rural health would deliver "huge dividends", rural docs urge on budget eve

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has urged the Federal Government to use tomorrow's Budget to further invest in the rural health system, and particularly its workforce, saying this would deliver "huge dividends" in better health outcomes for rural and remote Australians, less hospital stays and much less pressure on Government coffers.

02/05/2016
RDAA / AMA joint media statement — Peak doctor groups call for election commitments to fix rural health

The AMA and Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) are calling on the major political parties ahead of the 2016 Federal election to commit to practical and affordable reforms to improve health services for people in rural and remote Australia. The AMA and RDAA are today releasing their updated joint Rural Rescue Package – "Building a Sustainable Future for Rural Practice" – which sets out an achievable plan to build a strong rural medical workforce to underpin and build expanded health resources and services in rural Australia. The Package details strategies to increase the number of doctors to work in rural Australia and stay for the long term, and programs to ensure ongoing skills development for the rural medical workforce.

20/04/2016
Rough day at the BEACH — rural doctors seek urgent clarity around Government's primary care research plans

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) is seeking urgent clarification from the Federal Government as to the direction it will take critical primary care research post 30 June, following news that the highly-valued Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) Program has been de-funded by the Government and is at risk of closure. RDAA is also concerned that Federal Government funding support for other primary care research and information dissemination programs, including the Primary Health Care Research and Information Service (PHCRIS) and the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute (APHCRI), has been withdrawn.

12/04/2016
Health Care Homes trial — real capacity to help rural patients with chronic conditions

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed the Federal Government's announcement that it will trial a Health Care Homes approach to primary healthcare, saying it has "real capacity" to benefit thousands of rural and remote patients with chronic conditions. About 65,000 Australians will participate in initial two-year trials of the new system, in up to 200 medical practices across the country, from 1 July 2017. RDAA is urging that at least 50% of the practices involved in the trials should be located in rural and remote areas.

06/04/2016
Alleged murder of remote nurse a call to action to end health workplace violence

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has urged the federal and state governments to work closely together to develop and fund a comprehensive plan to better ensure the safety of rural and remote health professionals, following the alleged murder of remote South Australian nurse Gayle Woodford. RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said both in-hours and after-hours safety continues to be a key concern for rural and remote doctors, nurses and other health professionals, and a significant factor for young health professionals in deciding whether to work in rural and remote communities.

05/04/2016
National Close the Gap Day — local primary care essential in closing the gap

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has urged governments and policy-makers to better support the critical role of local primary healthcare services in delivering quality Indigenous healthcare in rural and remote communities, in order to make more progress in closing the gap on Indigenous health disparities. Speaking on the eve of National Close the Gap Day 2016, RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said local rural primary care services — such as local doctors and general practices, community health centres, Aboriginal medical and health services, and other services — provide the best setting to deliver holistic care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, in locations as close to home as possible.

16/03/2016
Grattan Institute "off the mark" on chronic disease

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has warned that a report released yesterday by the Grattan Institute, criticising the primary care sector's response to chronic disease management, greatly underestimates the positive impact that primary care is already making in the area. "The primary care sector is already making a big difference in effectively managing chronic conditions against a backdrop of poor government funding, a growing burden of chronic disease in the community, a significant and continuing impost of red tape (something the Grattan Institute has recognised), and the ongoing indexation freeze on Medicare patient rebates" RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said. "When you look at the funding headwinds that the primary care sector is having to work against, particularly in rural and remote settings, our sector is delivering so much more in terms of chronic disease outcomes than the Grattan Institute gives it credit for...and what's more, it is doing so at bargain basement prices."

08/03/2016
UGPA media release — A freeze on quality health care

Australia’s general practice leaders remain united in the fight against the Government’s unfair freeze on Medicare patient rebates, and are calling for all savings achieved from the MBS Review to be reinvested back into health. GP peak bodies have called for the Federal Government to lift the freeze on patient Medicare rebates before this year’s Federal Budget announcement.

07/03/2016
Better support needed for rural GP Supervisors

As a new cohort of junior doctors begins their general practice training, the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has warned that GP Supervisors and their practices must be appropriately supported to ensure that the current training system is sustainable into the future. RDAA Vice President, Dr John Hall, said that while most doctors find teaching and supervision very rewarding, increasing administrative imposts and more challenging financial circumstances are making it much less attractive, particularly for rural doctors.

02/03/2016
Picture 1 in 5 Australians with broken legs, on crutches: mental illness a hidden epidemic — Remote NT doctor speaks to federal politicians on mental health emergency

A remote doctor working in East Arnhem Land has urged federal politicians to continue to focus on improving access to mental healthcare services in the bush, and to ensure that doctors and other health professionals — who are often working at the frontline of mental healthcare — are also provided with the support they need to help them to cope with what is a difficult and draining aspect of their work. Dr Molly Shorthouse is a Rural Generalist practitioner from Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory, and Chair of RDAA's Northern Territory chapter. She was the guest speaker at today’s RDAA Breakfast Briefing for Federal Politicians, held at Parliament House in Canberra.

01/03/2016
Media reminder — Rural doctors to hold election year breakfast briefing
 for federal politicians tomorrow (Tuesday 1 March)

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) will hold its seventh annual national breakfast briefing for federal politicians at Parliament House in Canberra tomorrow (Tuesday 1 March 2016). Approximately 46 politicians (including Ministers, Shadow Ministers, MPs and Senators) — as well as senior political advisors and key representatives from the Australian Government Department of Health — will be meeting with around 23 rural doctors from right across Australia, to discuss the key national health policy and rural medical workforce issues facing rural doctors and their patients in the lead-up to the federal election.

29/02/2016
Rural doctors to hold election year breakfast briefing 
for federal politicians

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) will hold its seventh annual national breakfast briefing for federal politicians at Parliament House in Canberra next Tuesday, 1 March 2016. Approximately 46 politicians (including Ministers, Shadow Ministers, MPs and Senators) — as well as senior political advisors and key representatives from the Australian Government Department of Health — will be meeting with around 23 rural doctors from right across Australia, to discuss the key national health policy and rural medical workforce issues facing rural doctors and their patients in the lead-up to the federal election.

24/02/2016
Rural doctors welcome rise of Fiona Nash, and rural health portfolio, to Cabinet

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed the elevation of Senator Fiona Nash to Federal Cabinet, saying the appointment is "very well deserved" and will ensure rural health policy receives the highest level of Government focus. RDAA has also welcomed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's decision to give Minister Nash the additional Ministerial responsibilities of Regional Development and Regional Communications, saying that meshing the three portfolio responsibilities together makes good sense.

15/02/2016
Federal budget must not short-change rural patients

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has urged the Federal Government to ensure the forthcoming Federal Budget delivers fairer outcomes for rural and remote patients, warning that efficiencies in the health system cannot simply come at the expense of some of the poorest and most remote of Australians, many of whom already have worse health outcomes than their urban counterparts. The Association has also warned that rural doctors and their practices, which are the mainstays of rural healthcare, need a supportive policy environment and realistic levels of funding and business certainty to ensure that they can operate sustainably now and into the future. RDAA recently tabled its Federal Budget 2016-17 submission, which can be found at www.rdaa.com.au (see Quick Links on the front page).

10/02/2016