Position paper

RDAA 2016 election platform: recommendations to the parties

19 May 2016

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) is the peak national body representing the interests of doctors working in rural and remote communities and their patients.

People living in rural and remote areas have significantly higher rates of disease and injury, worse health outcomes and a significantly shorter life expectancy compared to people living in major cities. They are often unable to access even the most basic primary care medical services in their local communities.

RDAA is seeking a commitment from the Parties contesting the Federal Election to:

  1. Develop a comprehensive, cohesive and agreed rural health plan—supported by realistic levels of funding—to address the underlying systemic healthcare inequities that are impacting on rural and remote Australia.
  2. Provide realistic levels of funding to support rural generalist medical services and implement the joint RDAA/AMA Rural Rescue Package, 'Building a Sustainable Future for Rural Practice'.
  3. Immediately end the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) indexation freeze.
  4. Reinvest savings achieved through MBS reform and other health reforms back into health, particularly rural health.
  5. Establish a National Rural Generalist Training Program and increase and better target federal funding to enable Australia to grow its own rural doctor workforce, to deliver more doctors with the advanced rural medical skills needed by rural and remote communities.
  6. Provide realistic levels of funding to support rural mental health services, and the rural doctors and other health professionals who provide them.
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