Rural Health missing from the election

9 May 2019

AMA President Dr Tony Bartone has said that it is not too late for the major parties to announce their policies for rural health, but they are running out of time.

So far this election, rural health has been neglected by Labor and the Coalition. While some of the policies announced will deliver resources to rural areas, no specific policy has been announced despite the health disparities between rural and metropolitan areas.

“People in rural, regional, and remote Australia face many obstacles when they require access to the full range of quality medical and health services,” Dr Bartone said.

“And country people often have to travel to capital cities and large regional centres for vital services such as major surgery or cancer care.

“We need to see tailored and targeted policies to address these inequities.”

Dr Bartone said that last week’s National Press Club debate between the Health Minister and Shadow Minister was a perfect opportunity to announce these policies, but rural health did not receive a mention.

The 2019 AMA Rural Health Issues Survey revealed that extra funding and resources for hospitals to support improved staffing levels, including core visiting medical officers to allow workable rosters was the top priority for rural doctors. The Survey results will be released soon.

Read the full media release here.

The AMA’s Rural Health policies for the Federal Election are on pages 32-33 of Key Health Issues for the 2019 Federal Election

The AMA’s GP Campaign Kit has resources to help you advocate for the profession and our patients.