Media Releases 2017

66 documents.
Title Date
RMA17 media release — Mental health support for rural doctors to feature strongly at national conference

Recent tragic suicides of doctors have highlighted how stressful a medical career can be and how vital it is for health professionals to take care of themselves and their colleagues. On R U OK? Day (today, 14 September), organisers of the forthcoming Rural Medicine Australia 2017 conference (RMA17) have unveiled important sessions to help rural and remote doctors manage the pressures of their work. The multiple sessions will explore the factors contributing to a doctor’s mental health and wellbeing, highlight avenues of mental health support for rural doctors and other health professionals, and outline tools that can assist doctors who require support.

14/09/2017
Report underlines crucial role of GPs in mental healthcare

A major report released today on general practice care in Australia shows that the most frequent visits to GPs are for psychological care, demonstrating that the sector plays a critical role in helping patients with their mental health as well as physical health. The report, "General Practice: Health of the Nation", is the first of what will be an annual insight into the state of general practice in Australia, published by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). "With a shortage of psychologists and other mental health professionals in rural and remote areas, the role of rural doctors in providing mental healthcare is already absolutely critical, and is becoming more so" President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), Dr Ewen McPhee, said.

13/09/2017
RMA17 media release — Medicinal cannabis for rural patients: key topic at peak rural doctors' conference

The use of medicinal cannabis for rural patients, and its implications for their doctors and rural medical practices, will be a key topic at this year's Rural Medicine Australia (RMA17) conference in Melbourne. The major annual conference for rural doctors will feature a session exploring recent regulatory changes to the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, and consideration of wider clinical and prescribing issues, to help equip rural doctors to work under the new legislation.

12/09/2017
RDASA media release — Rural doctors hit high notes at
 annual education event

Advanced life-saving techniques and rural doctor self-care have been among a wide range of subjects covered at a key rural doctor conference held in Adelaide. The Rural Doctors Association of South Australia (RDASA) recently hosted over 50 rural doctors for their 4th annual Masterclass education event.

06/09/2017
RDAT and RDAA joint media release — Rural doctors buoyed that Rural Generalists are "still in the mix" for Mersey hospital

The Rural Doctors Association of Tasmania (RDAT) and Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) remain positive that, despite coverage to the contrary in The Advocate newspaper last Friday, the Tasmanian Government still plans to include Rural Generalist doctors as part of the workforce mix for Mersey Community Hospital.

06/09/2017
RDAWA media release — The time for rural based Internships is now

The Rural Doctors Association of Western Australia (RDAWA) is urging the WA Government and WA Country Health Service (WACHS) to expand the program for rural based internships for junior doctors, to enable more medical graduates to complete their first years as junior doctors in rural WA locations. The call coincides with unprecedented interest from WA medical students in seeking rural placements for their intern years.

05/09/2017
RMA17 media release — Mega-program for peak rural doctors conference

Medicinal cannabis, snakebite, domestic violence, LGBTQ+ health, thunderstorm asthma, and mental wellbeing for rural doctors themselves — these are just some of the many topics to be covered at this year's Rural Medicine Australia (RMA17) conference in Melbourne. Rural doctors and others attending RMA17 from across Australia will have unprecedented access to a "mega-program" of workshops and forums on cutting edge medical and medico-social issues, reflecting the wide range of patient presentations that rural doctors treat every day in their practices and local hospitals.

31/08/2017
NSW Government must guarantee continuation of obstetrics at Temora Hospital

The Rural Doctors Association of NSW (RDANSW) and Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) are calling on the NSW Government to urgently guarantee the continuation of operative obstetric and gynaecological services at Temora Hospital, saying that to close this service will risk safe health outcomes for local women and babies — and also risk losing doctors from the town. Doctors in Temora have been advised at very short notice of the closure of the service from 31 August, leaving pregnant women in limbo just days away from giving birth. "The decision by the NSW Government to close operative obstetric and gynaecological services at Temora is incredibly short-sighted and will be devastating for Temora and the wider region" RDANSW President, Dr Emma Cunningham, said.

23/08/2017
Time to take the focus off medical schools!

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has urged the Federal Government to strongly consider whether it should take more regulatory control over the approval of future medical schools, given new medical schools continue to be approved despite the fact that more than enough medical students are now being trained in Australia to meet future need. RDAA says more focus now needs to be placed on ensuring young medical graduates have enough training places in the health system to continue their medical training journey once they graduate from university — as, from now, there are more students graduating from medical school than there are training positions in the health system to employ them. RDAA's comments follow the announcement by Macquarie University that it will establish a new medical school for full fee paying students, with the first intake of students to commence next year.

23/08/2017
Rural patients to benefit from Government's Medicare reforms

Rural and remote Australians stand to benefit significantly from reforms that will see patients now receive Medicare rebates for after-care checks undertaken by their GP following surgery (and some other procedures) by another specialist, the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has said. Additionally, GPs are now able to offer patients the same Medicare rebates as other specialists for 31 minor procedures like vasectomies, skin wound repairs and the removal of simple cysts. These and other reforms were released by the Federal Government today, with most coming into effect from 1 November. They are based on recommendations made by the MBS Review Taskforce. RDAA has been an active stakeholder in the review process.

22/08/2017
'Most influential' health leaders to appear in key forum at major rural medicine conference

Australia's most influential health leaders will discuss critical health policy issues in a key Presidents' Breakfast forum at the Rural Medicine Australia 2017 conference, to be held in Melbourne in October.

 

Dr Ewen McPhee, President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), will host the forum and will be joined on the panel by Associate Professor Ruth Stewart, President of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM); Dr Bastian Seidel, President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP); and Dr Tony Bartone, Vice President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA).

04/08/2017
Government funding for real time prescription monitoring welcomed

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed an announcement by the Federal Government that it will invest over $16 million to deliver the national roll-out of real time prescription monitoring, enabling pharmacists and doctors to be alerted if patients receive multiple supplies of prescription-only medicines. Real time prescription monitoring (RTPM) will assist doctors and pharmacists to identify patients who are at risk of harm due to dependency, misuse or abuse of controlled medicines. The Government will work with its state and territory counterparts to implement RTPM nationally. Victoria is currently developing an RTPM system for that state, and Tasmania already has a system in place. The Rural Doctors Association of Victoria (RDAV) has been closely involved in the planning phase of the Victorian system.

02/08/2017
RDAA welcomes move by RACGP to formalise position on rural generalist medicine

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed a move by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) to formalise its position on rural generalist medicine, in light of the forthcoming commencement of the role of National Rural Health Commissioner and the subsequent priority implementation of a National Rural Generalist Pathway.

26/07/2017
Universities urged to put students before self-interest on medical school places

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has urged Australia's universities to be more responsible in their haste to increase medical school places...saying some universities appear to be thinking more of their own interests than their students' career prospects.

 

RDAA has also urged the Federal Government to continue its welcome work in expanding training places for junior doctors within the healthcare system, saying this is where access to medical training really needs to be boosted.

 

"The push by some universities to significantly boost the number of full fee paying domestic students in their medical courses will leave these students with study debts of up to $300,000 each" RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said.

20/07/2017
Government support for Indigenous aged care welcomed

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed an announcement by the Federal Government that it will provide more than $3.7 million in one-off grants to improve Indigenous aged care services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in aged care in regional, rural and remote communities.

 

The Federal Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM MP, has said the grants, under the Australian Government’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program, are in addition to the $33.5 million that the Program provides annually for service delivery.

13/07/2017
More rural training places after medical school are what the bush really needs

While building extra rural medical schools sounds enticing in getting more doctors to the bush, more investment is really needed in meeting the demand for rural training places by young doctors who have graduated from university and are now ready for the next stage in their medical training journey, the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has argued. "There are now more than enough young doctors graduating from our existing rural medical schools to meet the need for more doctors in the bush, provided we can keep them engaged in rural medicine once they leave the university quadrangle" RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said. "The main problem is that we are losing too many of these newly-minted doctors to the cities once they have graduated, because there aren't currently enough opportunities in rural communities for them to undertake their intern year, or post-graduate or advanced skills training."

10/07/2017
Rural doctors help build Indigenous Doctor workforce

NAIDOC Week 2017

 

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) celebrates the achievements of Indigenous Doctors and medical students and recognises their important contribution to providing culturally sensitive health care to Indigenous communities.

 

RDAA, in partnership with the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA) and with generous sponsorship from MDA National, offers a Bursary for Indigenous medical students to assist them to complete a rural or remote placement, or to carry out research to benefit Indigenous health care.

 

Ms Peta Rutherford, CEO of RDAA, said that RDAA works collaboratively with AIDA to support their efforts to encourage the development of the Indigenous doctor workforce, and also to improve services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia.

04/07/2017
Impact of climate change on rural health and mental health — key stream at peak rural doctor conference

The significant impact that climate change is already having on rural and remote communities, and particularly the health and mental health of those who live there, will be one of three key program streams at the peak Rural Medicine Australia (RMA17) conference, to be held from 19-21 October 2017 in Melbourne. RDAA Vice President, Dr John Hall, said: "It is not only critical for our governments and policy-makers to be working now to reduce the impact of climate change on rural Australia and the farming sector in particular, but also to be planning future measures that will help the rural healthcare system cope with the additional patient demand brought about by related conditions. Importantly, this will feasibly include an increase in the need for mental healthcare services due to more frequent drought events and the pressures this brings on farming families and rural support industries."

28/06/2017
RDAA and ACRRM joint media release — Rural doctors welcome re-start on National Maternity Services Framework

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) have strongly welcomed agreement by the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council (AHMAC) to start afresh on the development of an important Framework that will guide future maternity care policy in Australia. Importantly, a new draft of the National Maternity Services Framework will be undertaken only after wide-ranging consultation with key health sector stakeholders. Many organisations, including RDAA and ACRRM, had serious concerns about the lack of consultation underpinning the initial Draft Framework, and therefore also about the resulting content.

28/06/2017
Better support for preventive healthcare would help keep more rural Aussies out of hospital

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has argued that, with better support, rural general practices could play a “substantial frontline role” in significantly boosting access to preventive healthcare in the bush…and help keep more rural Aussies out of hospital. Recent reports show that rural Australians are suffering poorer health outcomes from difficulties and delays in accessing healthcare, and that preventive healthcare for Australia as a whole is falling well short of the mark.

21/06/2017
RDAQ - Indigenous health advocates receive rural docs newest honour

Two young doctors committed to improving Indigenous health have been awarded a new award honouring the legacy of a rural medical champion.

16/06/2017
RDAQ - Biloela Doc is Queensland’s Legend of the Bush

A CENTRAL Queensland doctor credited with performing 10,000 operations and delivering more than 3000 babies has been honoured by his professional peers as a 'Legend of the Bush’.

16/06/2017
RDAQ - Longreach doctor awarded for lasting legacy

A LEGENDARY Longreach doctor with medical roots in western Queensland stretching back 60 years this year has been recognised for his meritorious service to rural health.

16/06/2017
RDAQ - Rural docs honour Goondiwindi’s marriage of medical minds

GOONDIWINDI husband and wife medicos Matt and Sue Masel have been recognised by their professional peers for long-standing meritorious service to rural health in Queensland.

16/06/2017
National Rural Health Commissioner a reality following Senate vote

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed last night's passing of legislation by the Senate to create the role of National Rural Health Commissioner. "We strongly commend the Federal Government for acting so quickly on our advocacy to create this role, and we also commend Labor, the Greens and the other parliamentary representatives for their support of this important legislation" RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said.

15/06/2017
Rural doctors scoop the pool in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Rural doctors from across Australia have been recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours for the immense commitment they have made to their communities and to the field of medicine. President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), Dr Ewen McPhee, said it was great to see the hard work and dedication of so many rural doctors recognised again in this year’s Honours.

14/06/2017
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical students encouraged to apply for important Bursary

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical students are being encouraged to apply for an important national Bursary that aims to provide an Indigenous medical student with much needed support while on the path through their medical degree. The 2017 MDA National and Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) Rural Health Bursary is again being generously provided by MDA National as part of its sponsorship arrangement with RDAA. This is the third year that the Bursary has been offered, with applications now being accepted.

07/06/2017
Proposed changes to after-hours Medicare items welcomed by rural doctors

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed recommendations from the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce that MBS billing items for 'urgent' after-hours services should no longer be available to after-hours Medical Deputising Services (MDSs). It has recommended that 'urgent' after-hours items should be restricted to GPs who normally work during the day and are recalled for the management of a patient who, in the opinion of the GP, needs urgent assessment. Non-urgent after-hours items would continue to be available to MDSs as well as other after-hours care providers. RDAA is a key stakeholder of the Taskforce's After Hours Working Group, which conducted the review into after-hours items.

07/06/2017
Joint media release - Improving Indigenous health outcomes essential to true reconciliation

National Reconciliation Week

27 May — 3 June 2017

 

Vastly improving local access to culturally safe healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a crucial part of closing the gap in health outcomes, and essential if we are serious about reconciliation, the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) and Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association (AIDA) have urged during National Reconciliation Week.

 

01/06/2017
Cutting edge keynote speakers announced for Rural Medicine Australia conference

Exciting keynote speakers have been confirmed for the upcoming Rural Medicine Australia 2017 conference (RMA17), which will be held in Melbourne in October. The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) have again joined forces to ensure that RMA17 helps support the delivery of best practice healthcare to rural and remote communities across Australia. They have announced that former Leader of the Australian Greens, Dr Bob Brown, and Chief Medical Officer of the Australian Institute of Sport, Dr David Hughes, will be presenting at the event.

29/05/2017
RDAWA media release — Funding commitment needed for critical WA rural health program

Rural Doctors Association of Western Australia (RDAWA) President, Dr Andrew Kirke, has called on the State Government to continue supporting the Southern Inland Health Initiative (SIHI), which plays a critical role in ensuring quality health care in rural WA.

29/05/2017
RDANSW / RDAA media release — Rural doctors welcome call for more clinical input at South East Regional Hospital

The Rural Doctors Association of NSW (RDANSW) and Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) have welcomed a recommendation from an independent review of the South East Regional Hospital (SERH) at Bega, that a new approach to leadership be adopted there to include senior doctors as well as nurses and allied health professionals. The review was triggered largely by concerns regarding the decision by hospital management not to renew the contract of a local orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Chris Phoon, despite there being a significant waiting list for patients needing orthopaedic surgery and only three orthopaedic surgeons working at the hospital.

"It is well known that there has been a strong need to improve the management culture at both the new SERH, and also at its predecessor, the Bega District Hospital, for many years" RDAA CEO, Peta Rutherford, said. "The decision by hospital management not to renew the contract of Dr Phoon was really the tip of a much larger iceberg, and the catalyst for this important review."

19/05/2017
RDASA media release — RAH outpatient shortfall cause for concern, but opportunity knocks for more specialist clinics in rural SA

The Rural Doctors Association of South Australia (RDASA) is concerned by news regarding a reduction of outpatient clinics available when the new Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) opens later this year. RDASA President, Dr Gerry Considine, is alarmed at suggestions by SA Health this week that the shortfall will be around 40,000 patients per year. "We already know that a large proportion of rural patients make up these outpatient clinics and are currently faced with delays to see medical specialists" he said. "This can only mean longer waiting times or potentially fragmented care when directed to other metropolitan hospitals. However, RDASA sees an opportunity for specialist clinics for rural patients to be conducted in rural and regional areas, saving hours of travel to the city for often short 10-15 minute consultations."

17/05/2017
Drug testing welfare recipients an unproven policy

Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) President, Dr Ewen McPhee, has said that the Government’s trial of drug testing jobseekers won’t improve their outcomes. “This approach has been implemented in some areas of the United States and it hasn’t shown to be effective in combating substance abuse” Dr McPhee said. “People who are looking for a job do not generally have any higher incidence of drug use than those in the general population, even if they are receiving government assistance. “Those that do have problems will not be helped by measures that feel punitive, such as switching them to a cashless debit card, rather than payments. Tough love is rarely successful in treating substance abuse – particularly when it’s from the Government.”

15/05/2017
Rural doctors call for scrapping of draft National Maternity Services Framework

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) have joined a range of other stakeholders in their criticism of the Draft National Maternity Services Framework (NMSF).

 

RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said given the range of serious concerns about both the development and content of the current document, a complete re-draft is required.

 

“There has been no specific consultation with rural clinicians, no recognition of the role of procedural GPs in rural maternity services, nor any mention of the guidelines developed by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG), the organisation that actually trains the procedural GPs and specialists in this field” Dr McPhee said.

11/05/2017
Media reminder — Budget reaction doorstop today, Senate Courtyard, Parliament House

President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), Dr Ewen McPhee, will hold a media doorstop this morning to provide RDAA's reaction to the Federal Budget.

10/05/2017
Health sector feels the warmth in Budget 2017, but rural health still needs some extra layers

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed key elements of tonight's Federal Budget, saying it shows recognition by the Federal Government of key concerns of RDAA and other medical groups, as well as recognition of the importance of the primary health sector in keeping Australians healthy and out of hospital. "Overall, and certainly compared with previous federal budgets, this is a good budget for the health sector" RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said. "Having said that, more work is required to fully address rural health issues, and we look forward to working with the Government to achieve this."

09/05/2017
Rural doctor Budget commentary available tonight / tomorrow

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 11am AEST in the Senate Courtyard at Parliament House. Rural Doctors Association representatives around Australia will also be available for post-Budget comment.

09/05/2017
Say no to rural health roadblocks

With the legislation for the appointment of a Rural Health Commissioner scheduled to go in front of the Senate next week, rural doctors are calling for all Senators to remove any potential roadblocks and support this critical initiative.

Dr Ewen McPhee, President of Rural Doctors Association Australia, said this was the third time the legislation was due to go forward, but had previously been pushed back by last minute amendments

“There have been some last minute requested amendments which, in an effort to enhance the proposal, have delayed the Senate’s vote on the matter.

“RDAA was comfortable with initial legislation, and also with the amendments based on suggestions from Labor, the Greens and Independents.

05/05/2017
Budget 2017 - Realistic funding will get innovative health measures out of the boarding gate and flying

Australia's rural doctors are urging the Federal Government to use next week's Budget to lay down realistic funding to help transform a number of "very promising" healthcare initiatives into reality.

 

President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), Dr Ewen McPhee, said the Government has some "innovative and potentially game-changing healthcare initiatives" ready at the boarding gate, and with realistic funding allocated in the Budget they would be well on their way to lift-off.

 

"We're not seeking any new measures in next week's Budget" Dr McPhee said.

 

"What we are hoping for is realistic funding for the exciting new health policy initiatives that the Government has already announced and that are already in the pipeline.

04/05/2017
Investment in rural health welcome news for the bush

The Coalition’s announcement of over $54million to be invested in rural health training will provide enormous opportunities to build the rural medical workforce of the future.

 

Dr Ewen McPhee, President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), said that the funding will play an important role in providing access for more medical and allied health students to experience the benefits of working in rural and remote areas.

 

“The funding is aimed at boosting clinical training in regional Australia by the way of 26 Regional Health Training Hubs and three new University Departments of Rural Health,” Dr McPhee said.

21/04/2017
Overseas trained doctors still essential in the bush: assurances needed on 457 visa changes

While the Federal Government’s work to deliver more Australian-trained doctors to the bush is very positive and welcome, International Medical Graduates (IMGs) will continue to be essential in providing medical care in rural and remote communities for at least the next 5 years — and probably for the next 15 years — the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has warned. For this reason, RDAA has urged the Government to assure these much-needed doctors of their continued future support in Australia, under the 457 visa changes announced yesterday.

19/04/2017
Rural patients to benefit from increased access to psychologists via video consults

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed today’s announcement by the Federal Government that it will increase access for rural and remote Australians to Medicare-rebated psychological care delivered via video consultations. The Federal Minister for Regional Development, Senator Fiona Nash and Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt MP, have announced that — under a change in the telehealth item number for psychology services — psychologists will be able to utilise a Medicare rebated item for video consultations, which previously has only been available to General Practitioners. The change will help to significantly improve access to tele-psychology services for many rural and remote Australians.

19/04/2017
RDAT and RDAA joint media release — Funding deal gives Mersey Hospital a real chance to become a showcase facility

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) and Rural Doctors Association of Tasmania (RDAT) have welcomed the Federal Government's announcement that it will provide $730 million to the Tasmanian Government to operate the Mersey Community Hospital for the next decade, and to transfer ownership of the Hospital back to the state. "With funding certainty for the Hospital now in place, the time is ripe for the Tasmanian Government to introduce a Rural Generalist model of care at the Mersey to both train and then utilise its home-grown medical workforce" said RDAT President, Dr Alexandra Seidel.

05/04/2017
Federal Assistant Minister for Health and Rural Doctors Association of Australia media doorstop — Parliament House, Wednesday

The Federal Assistant Minister for Health, Dr David Gillespie MP, and President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), Dr Ewen McPhee, will hold a media doorstop today (Wednesday 29 March) to discuss the importance of the Federal Government’s proposed National Rural Generalist Program in delivering more of the next generation of doctors with advanced skills to rural and remote Australia. Minister Gillespie and Dr McPhee will be joined by three rural doctors who are at different stages of their training journey to become Rural Generalist doctors.

29/03/2017
Rural doctors to hold breakfast briefing
 for federal politicians tomorrow (Wednesday)

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) will hold its eighth annual breakfast briefing for federal politicians at Parliament House in Canberra tomorrow (Wednesday, 29 March 2017). Approximately 40 federal 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 meet with 24 rural doctors from right across Australia, to discuss the key issues impacting on rural doctors and their patients. A key focus of the breakfast will be an exciting new era of Rural Generalist Medicine in Australia, which is close to becoming a reality.

28/03/2017
Media alert — Rural doctors to hold breakfast briefing
 for federal politicians

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) will hold its eighth annual breakfast briefing for federal politicians at Parliament House in Canberra next Wednesday, 29 March 2017. Approximately 40 federal 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 meet with 24 rural doctors from right across Australia, to discuss the key issues impacting on rural doctors and their patients. A key focus of the breakfast will be an exciting new era of Rural Generalist Medicine in Australia, which is close to becoming a reality.

22/03/2017
Next step welcomed in creation of National Rural Health Commissioner

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) and National Rural Health Alliance (the Alliance) have welcomed the progress of legislation within the Federal Parliament to create the role of National Rural Health Commissioner, with it having passed through the House of Representatives last night. Both the Alliance and RDAA have commended the Federal Government on its creation of the role, saying it will be crucial in improving access to healthcare, and health professionals of all types, in rural and remote areas.

21/03/2017
Targeted work needed to Close the Gap

Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people are still significantly disadvantaged in the areas of life expectancy, mental health and general health, and targeted, culturally appropriate care is needed to address this growing crisis.

 

Dr Ewen McPhee, Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) President, said that there were many areas that could be improved by a greater cultural understanding by health professionals.

 

“The significant lack of improvement in the latest Government Closing the Gap report is of deep concern and emphasises that more must be done to improve health and other outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Dr McPhee said.

17/03/2017
Rural doctors support NFF on quad bike safety

Quad bike safety information needs an urgent overhaul with escalating on-farm deaths as a result of quad bike accidents.

 

Dr Ewen McPhee, President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), said that RDAA supports the National Farming Federation’s (NFF) call for a five star safety rating system.

 

“Quad bikes are one of the leading causes of on-farm fatalities in Australia,” Dr McPhee said.

16/03/2017
After-hours care: don't throw rural patients out with the bathwater!

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has warned that efforts to bring the growth in city-based after-hours care under control must not impact on the excellent after-hours services provided by rural doctors. "Like others, we are concerned about the significant increase in urgent after-hours care visits in recent years, which appears to align with the rise in city-based after-hours deputising services" RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said. "We welcome the consideration of this as part of the Federal Government's current Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review."

15/03/2017
Dedication of female doctors shines through in rural Australia

Female doctors form a significant part of the rural health workforce and provide much needed and appreciated services for rural patients. Ms Peta Rutherford, CEO of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), said that International Women’s Day provides the perfect opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to all of the female rural doctors working across Australia.

08/03/2017
AMA (NSW) and Rural Doctors Association media release — Local Health District needs to restore Bega’s hospital services to normal

AMA (NSW) and the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) have jointly called for the Southern NSW Local Health District to immediately work with local orthopaedic surgeons at Bega to ensure orthopaedic services at South East Regional Hospital (SERH) continue.

08/03/2017
Welcome initiative to help junior doctors sample rewarding nature of rural practice

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed a new Federal Government initiative to support junior doctors to undertake training rotations in regional and rural areas, saying it is an important element in building a future rural doctor workforce. The Government has announced that the new Rural Junior Doctor Training Innovation Fund (RJDTIF) will support at least 60 full-time places annually (equal to 240 accredited intern rotations) to access a training rotation in primary care settings in regional and rural areas.

06/03/2017
RDAA/RDAT - Mersey Community Hospital could be a Rural Generalist ‘showcase’ facility

The introduction of a Rural Generalist model of care at the Mersey Community Hospital in North West Tasmania would lead to significant budget savings, ensure a wide range of medical services for the region's patients, and make the hospital a 'showcase' facility for rural medical care.

 

The Rural Doctors Association of Tasmania (RDAT) and Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) have lodged a formal 'solutions paper' with the Tasmanian Government, demonstrating how a Rural Generalist model of care could work at the Mersey and the significant cost-savings it would generate.

 

Dr Alexandra Seidel, RDAT President, said that changing the model could save hundreds of thousands of dollars.

 

"It is up to $300,000 per year more expensive for each position filled by a specialist locum at a facility like the Mersey, than to have a fully-funded Rural Generalist doctor," said Dr Seidel.

23/02/2017
Doctors welcome continued investment in Rural Workforce Agencies

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed a Federal Government announcement that it will invest $93 million in Australia's network of state Rural Workforce Agencies, with a focus on delivering more Australian-trained doctors and other health professionals to regional, rural and remote areas. In making the announcement, the Federal Assistant Minister for Health, Dr David Gillespie MP, said that with an expected oversupply of 7000 doctors in Australia by 2030, the challenge going forward was to ensure the distribution of doctors "to ensure all Australians have access to the medical and health services they need." RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said it was very pleasing to see the Government's continuing strong focus on boosting the rural and remote health workforce.

21/02/2017
Rural patients get raw deal from rising Private Health Insurance

With the cost of Private Health Insurance set to rise again, patients in rural areas will be getting even less value for money than ever before, the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has warned. RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said many rural and remote Australians either don’t hold private health insurance (PHI) or can't use it due to limited access to private healthcare facilities in rural areas. “PHI is increasingly becoming a luxury that many rural families can’t see the value in” Dr McPhee said.

15/02/2017
Latest 'Closing the Gap' outcomes of deep concern

The significant lack of improvement in the latest 'Closing the Gap' report, released today by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, is of deep concern and emphasises that more must be done to improve life expectancy, health and other outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has warned. While the Government is on track to halve the gap in Indigenous students attaining Year 12 education by 2020 — and to potentially close the gap in enrolments of Indigenous children for early childhood education by 2025 — targets to close the gap in other critical areas like life expectancy, infant mortality, education and employment remain elusive. "This latest report should be a strong wake-up call to us all that a significantly greater effort is required to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people" RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said.

14/02/2017
Rural Health Commissioner a step closer to becoming reality

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has strongly welcomed an announcement today by the Federal Assistant Minister for Health, Dr David Gillespie MP, that the Government will table legislation to create the role of National Rural Health Commissioner. RDAA hopes this important statutory position will receive the full support of all political parties. "It is wonderful to see this critical role moving significantly closer to reality — we are hopeful that given the importance of the role to rural healthcare in Australia, the legislation will have unanimous support and speedy transit through both houses" RDAA President, Dr Ewen McPhee, said. "We hope to see the inaugural National Rural Health Commissioner appointed and commencing in the role as soon as possible."

08/02/2017
Media statement - Critical care: International doctors crucial to rural Australia

Australia has one of the most affordable, accessible and comprehensive healthcare systems in the world, with a goal of equitable access to health care for all people.

 

With our vast landmass and range of communities, achieving this goal of equitable access has always been a challenge, part of which is the recruitment and retention of doctors in rural and remote areas – of which we have many.

 

For the people in these communities to receive timely and local access to health services, we rely on a workforce that has a large number of doctors who have trained overseas.

03/02/2017
Greater rural focus critical under new GP training arrangement

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has welcomed an announcement by the Federal Government that the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) will be able to directly participate in the selection of doctors into their GP training programs, commencing from the 2018 intake. However, the Association has written to the RACGP seeking a firm commitment that, in selecting doctors for GP training under the new arrangement, the RACGP will implement a formal system where additional weighting is given to applicants from rural backgrounds or who show a strong intent to work in rural general practice.

01/02/2017
RDA NSW - Rural doctors welcome new NSW Government Cabinet

The Rural Doctors Association of New South Wales (RDA NSW) has congratulated the new Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian, on her appointment, and thanked former Premier Mike Baird and retiring Health Minister Jillian Skinner for their services to NSW.

 

Dr Emma Cunningham, President of RDA NSW and a rural doctor from the Snowy Mountains, said that the NSW Coalition Government had achieved important inroads into securing the future of rural health care under the leadership of Premier Baird and Minister Skinner.

 

“We thank outgoing Minister Skinner for her involvement in rural health issues and for her support over the years. 

 

“She was a frequent guest at the RDA NSW annual conference, and always considered issues affecting rural health as important.

27/01/2017
Targeted funding needed for National Rural Generalist Pathway

Rural Doctors Association of Australia Pre-Budget Submission

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) is calling for an increase in funding for the implementation of a training program to train the next generation of rural doctors.

Implementation of a National Rural Generalist Pathway was a key election promise from the Turnbull Government, but RDAA has said in its Pre-Budget Submission that further investment is needed to ensure its expansion and sustainability in all states.

Dr Ewen McPhee, RDAA President, said that the Government should consolidate primary health care reforms that are already underway before any new policy initiatives are introduced.

23/01/2017
Rural Health must remain ‘front and centre’ after Cabinet reshuffle

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has today welcomed the new Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, and said they will be working hard to ensure that issues concerning rural health remain a focus for the Turnbull Government.

 

“Minister Hunt has taken on this challenging portfolio at a critical time,” said Dr Ewen McPhee, RDAA President.

 

“There are some key areas needing urgent action that would make a real difference to health outcomes for rural Australians.

 

“It is critical that the new Minister focuses on the establishment of the Rural Health Commissioner. 

19/01/2017
Rural doctors acknowledge Sussan Ley’s work in Health Portfolio

Dr Ewen McPhee, President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) has today said that Sussan Ley, who has just resigned as Minister for Health, was a supporter of rural health and made important contributions to health policy.

 

“Ms Ley worked very hard in her role as Health Minister and we thank her for her service in this difficult portfolio.

 

“She was a strong advocate for Health Care Homes, and we are keen to see this work continue under the new minister.

13/01/2017
Private Health Insurance reform process: real possibilities for rural healthcare

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) says it looks forward to seeing recommendations over the coming months from a committee established by the Federal Government to provide advice on reforms to private health insurance in Australia. "The Australian" newspaper has this week reported that consideration is being given by the committee to provide private health fund members in regional and remote areas with “larger Medicare payments or more generous insurance subsidies to compensate for a lack of services.”

03/01/2017