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19 Apr 2016

The AMA is moving to sharpen its lobbying efforts on rural health ahead of the next Federal election by asking rural doctors to identify the most important issues affecting them, their patients and their communities.

The AMA has launched its Rural Health Issues Survey 2016 to hear the views and concerns of rural doctors and use them to inform AMA policy and influence governments.

AMA President Professor Brian Owler said people living and working in regional, rural and remote areas faced unique challenges providing and getting access to quality health services, and their voice needed to be heard.

“Doctors and other health professionals who serve rural communities and patients have very different experiences to their city counterparts, especially with links to hospitals and other specialists, medical workforce and resources, and support services,” Professor Owler said. “Rural Australia requires specific and specialised health policies and funding to ensure rural patients are not disadvantaged in comparison to people living in cities.”

Professor Owler said the Survey would allow rural doctors to share their experiences and solutions, which would help the AMA in lobbying for better policies.

The last Rural Health Survey was conducted in 2007, and Professor Owler said it had provided the framework for much of the AMA’s subsequent rural health advocacy.

“It allowed us to influence Government decisions on issues such as locum relief, medical workforce, specialist outreach, and patient assisted travel schemes,” he said.

But, he added, since then a host of new stresses and pressures had emerged, and the AMA’s policies need to reflect these changes.

Professor Owler said the best sources of information about what needed to be done to improve rural health and medical services were rural doctors and their patients, which was why the AMA was undertaking the survey.

Contributions to the Survey can be made before 29 April.

It can be accessed by visiting:

Adrian Rollins


Published: 19 Apr 2016