Media Releases 2017

20 documents.
Title Date
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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.”