A program placing health professionals in remote Northern Territory communities has marked a decade of service and is going into its eleventh year with $6 million funding from the Liberal National Government.
The Remote Area Health Corps (RAHC) has made more than 5,600 placements – including doctors, nurses, dentists and audiologists – since 2008, combating critical health workforce shortages and delivering life-changing care and support.
Thousands of local residents in over 50 communities have benefited and without the health corps, many local people would have to wait for services, risk going without or have to travel great distances off country to receive appropriate care.
Since the RAHC began, it has expanded from 100 annual placements, to nearly 700 this year, with almost 80 per cent of the participating, urban-based health professionals returning to undertake additional placements across the Territory.
Collectively, the placements equate to more than 494 person years of service delivery.
Aside from the satisfaction of giving much-need treatment and care, the overwhelming message from health professionals involved has been the about value of enduring friendships and the privilege of sharing in First Nations cultures.
While the Commonwealth, States and Territories have recently committed to a national Indigenous Health and Medical Workforce Plan – to foster Aboriginal doctors, nurses and health workers on country – this will take time to establish.
I congratulate Aspen Medical for delivering the RAHC program, which is attracting dedicated health professionals who are changing many people’s lives for the better.
I look forward to the Health Corps continuing to play a significant role in helping to close the gap in health equality for remote First Nations people.
Authorised by Ken Wyatt AM, MP, Member for Hasluck.
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