Fixing our region's healthcare woes
The shortage of doctors in rural and regional Australia could soon be a thing of the past.
Assistant Minister for Health, Dr David Gillespie has championed new legislation which has paved the way to appointment our nation’s first Rural Health Commissioner – Emeritus Professor Paul Worley, who will dedicate his time to fighting for improvements in regional, rural and remote health.
With over 30 years practising himself, David knew too well the issues facing doctors, nurses and allied health workers in regional communities.
The bill he introduced to the house earlier this year was to ensure a National Rural Health Commissioner could be appointed who would act as an independent and high-profile identity, address the shortfalls for medical and health professionals in the regions, work with rural health stakeholders and advise future decision-makers.
David announced Professor Worley’s appointment in October at the Rural Medicines Australia Conference in Melbourne.
“Professor Worley will be a determined, effective and passionate advocate for strengthening rural health outcomes across Australia,” David said.
“The Federal Coalition Government is dedicated to improving access to health services for everyone who calls regional, rural and remote Australia home. The appointment of our National Rural Health Commissioner is integral to achieving this outcome.
As both a practitioner and academic, Professor Worley has had a distinguished career in rural health. He has worked as a GP in multiple regional areas (currently based 90km from Adelaide) and for 10 years, was the Dean of Medicine at Flinders University in South Australia. In addition, he has held senior leadership roles with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and the Rural Doctors Association of South Australia.
As the Commissioner Professor Worley’s first priority will be to develop the National Rural Generalist Pathways which will focus on providing training, recognition and appropriate remuneration for the complex and unique demands on doctors who work and operate outside of major centres.
As well as this Professor Worley will begin to consider the needs of nursing, dental health, pharmacy, Indigenous health, mental health, midwifery, occupational therapy, physical therapy and allied health workforces.