The Fred Hollows Foundation supports the National Rural Health Alliance’s (NRHA) calls for the Federal Government to implement all 18 recommendations made by the Senate Community Affairs Committee’s recent report into rural health services.

The delivery of comprehensive primary health care for Indigenous Australians, together with a strong health workforce to rural and remote Australia, is a priority for The Foundation.  

The challenges of providing this strong health workforce need to be addressed properly to give rural and remote people the services they need. Implementing all the recommendations made by the committee would achieve this. 

Of the 18 recommendations made in the report, The Foundation is particularly supportive of measures proposed to help address the shortage of nurses and allied health professionals that, according to the report, is projected to become even worse by 2025. Without enough nurses, allied health professionals and doctors in the bush, rural and remote people will continue to be disadvantaged in terms of health.  

The recommendations include a coordinated accommodation strategy for rural health workers, including Aboriginal Health Workers, as well as a proposed HECS reimbursement scheme for key health professions.

Other recommendations in the report include the need for quality data on rural health issues to draw attention to gaps in knowledge where research efforts should be directed.

The Foundation is very aware of how difficult it is for Indigenous Australians to access the health care they need and the effect this has on their health. Addressing the current shortages of health professionals to deliver health services in the bush is an essential part of closing the gap on Indigenous health.

Find out more about our work in Indigenous Australia.