Sue Walker

Sue Walker

Guest Blogger at See Full Details
Sue is a Registered Nurse and holds a Masters Degree in Primary Health Care majoring in Palliative Care. Sue has extensive experience both as a clinician, educator, and senior manager in the aged care, mental health, and palliative care settings.
Sue Walker

Latest posts by Sue Walker

Claiming CPD Relevance

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Latest Report on Rural and Remote Health in Australia

I don’t believe it will be any surprise to you to find that the report identified that people living in rural and remote areas of Australia have poorer access to health services, and live shorter lives than their city counterparts.

The report was updated in October 2019 and identified:

“Health inequalities in rural and remote areas may be due to factors, including:
  • challenges in accessing health care or health professionals, such as specialists
  • social determinants such as income, education and employment opportunities
  • higher rates of risky behaviours such as tobacco smoking and alcohol use
  • higher rates of occupational and physical risk, for example from farming or mining work and transport-related accidents.”

I have lived and worked in regional Australia for 27 years and have witnessed the above issues occur in my community. The ability to access certain medical specialities are non-existent and people have to travel great distances to receive a diagnosis let alone treatment.

Woman with breast cancer would choose total mastectomy over lumpectomy so that they could stay at home with their children rather than travel to larger centres to undergo radiation therapy. If you do have to travel to a larger city for treatment of any condition there are the additional costs of accommodation and time off work for family members who accompany you. There are a few subsidised accommodation options but not enough and not easily accessed.

“The proportion of people reporting not having a specialist nearby as a barrier to seeing one increased from:
  • 6.0% in Major cities to
  • 22% in Inner regional areas to
  • 30% in Outer regional areas and
  • 58% in Remote and very remote areas (Figure 1) (AIHW 2018c).”

The report also highlighted that there were positive aspects of living in a rural environment which included social connectedness and a higher level of life satisfaction than people living in urban areas.

The report is an interesting read and provides the opportunity to reflect on why this occurs and is it fair that it does? Click here>> to read the full document.  I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.