A new Division of Regional Health has been announced by Minister for Regional Health Bronnie Taylor.
“The Regional Health Division will support the NSW Government’s commitment to bring a renewed focus on recruitment to key healthcare roles in regional NSW and to find innovative ways to support nurses, doctors, allied health practitioners, and the vital support service providers who work in healthcare facilities, to live and work in our regional communities,” she said.
The biggest issues in Rural and Remote Health are increased hospitalisations, shorter lives as well as poorer access to and use of primary health services according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW): Rural and Remote Health.
AIHW also reported people living in regional and remote areas were more likely to engage in risky behaviours, such as smoking and consuming alcohol at levels that put them at risk of life-time harm, compared with people living in Major cities.
A major problem in Broken Hill is how to attract and keep health workers.
Everyone who has lived in Broken Hill knows it is hard to get in to see a doctor.
There is also a problem with once you do see a doctor maintaining what is called continuity of care.
Continuity of care is the relationship of trust and knowledge built up between a patient and their health practitioner which takes time and continually seeing the same health practitioner over a number of months or years.
The emphasis on attracting and keeping health workers by the new Division of Remote Health may ease this problem.
The Minister pointed out that the Division will sit at the top level within the Ministry of Health and ensure strong advocacy of regional health issues, while also leveraging the strengths of our excellent, highly networked NSW public health system for the benefit of regional NSW.
Under the new Regional Health Division, local health districts (LHDs) will continue to deliver health services to their local communities.