The College believes that this investment would contribute towards improvement in the deficit in equity to accessible, affordable healthcare, experienced by Australians living outside of major city areas.
Too often, a lack of access to available and affordable primary and community-based care – including specialist general practitioners, other medical specialists and allied health professionals – in rural, regional and remote settings can cause people who live outside of city areas to have poorer health outcomes. This inability to access the care they need anywhere else, means people outside of the city are more likely to attend the emergency department.
Solutions to solve this should include increased rural training opportunities, a more equitably distributed workforce, further research into rural issues – pivotal to improving RRR services – and ensuring education and training opportunities are readily available for healthcare workers providing care to RRR communities.
This federal election, one of ACEM’s three key areas of priority is better regional, rural and remote healthcare.
Specifically, ACEM is calling on parties to:
- Directly fund the expansion of primary care services in rural and regional settings, by developing community-led services in areas of need,
- Increase investment in local mental health primary care, including the attraction and retention of staff, and
- Fund an expansion of the Specialist Training Program to facilitate greater regional training opportunities for medical specialists.
ACEM President Dr Clare Skinner said, “Where you live shouldn’t determine your healthcare. All Australians should receive care where and when they need it, whether they live on the coast, in the desert, in the bush or in the city.”
“We welcome the Morrison-Joyce government’s pre-electoral commitments aimed at improving rural and remote healthcare. However, more must be done to make sure we have a health system that is safe and fair and accessible for all Australians and will continue to advocate for improvements.”
Australia’s public health system: It’s not normal. It’s not fair. It can be fixed. Read how.
ACEM is the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand, responsible for training emergency physicians and advancement of professional standards. www.acem.org.au