Last week a new collaborative health care model built on a community-based response was launched for Forbes and other centres throughout the Central West.
Forbes will join other regions in the trial to find innovative solutions to local healthcare problems with an investment of $5 million from the Australian Government to support what the communities come up with. The other regions are Parkes, Tullamore, Trangie, Tottenham, Trundle, Canowindra, Snowy Valley and Wentworth.
Regional experts, including the NSW Rural Doctors Network, the Western NSW Local Health District and the Western NSW Primary Health Network are working closely with local councils, community and health professionals to design an innovative solution.
The difference with this approach to traditional health workforce solutions that focus on individual towns, is the focus will be on sub-regions to address healthcare access issues.
“By servicing multiple towns, there is an opportunity to achieve economies of scale, create sustainable practices and provide better access to primary health services for rural and remote Australians,” said Deputy Prime Minister and member for Riverina Michael McCormack at the launch.
“The aim is to demonstrate how new and flexible approaches can address workforce shortages in the bush and find sustainable ways of delivering services across a number of smaller, connected rural communities,” said Federal Regional Health Minister, Mark Coulton.
“The challenge of delivering health services in small communities is well known, and it is clear the existing one-size-fits-all approach isn’t working for everyone.” The CEO of the Rural Doctors Network, Richard Colbran agreed, and believes the days of a doctor settling into a town for 40 years were gone.
“The aim with the new model would be to get doctors to stay for at least five years,” said Richard.
“That would allow patients to build a relationship with their GP.”