Media Releases 2017

35 documents.
Title Date
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