Deakin University has welcomed news the Federal Government has established the role of a National Rural Health Commissioner, with the Bill to create the position passed in the Senate today.
The new Commissioner will work with governments, health services and the medical, nursing and allied health professions to address workforce shortages, and develop healthcare delivery solutions, in rural and regional Australia.
Professor Brendan Crotty, Executive Dean of Deakin's Faculty of Health, said rural and regional Australians faced many barriers to optimum healthcare, including distance, limited infrastructure and higher costs.
"To get the best healthcare outcomes in rural and regional areas, services must be tailored to meet the unique needs of these communities," Professor Crotty said.
"Rural and regional health outcomes should not be worse than metropolitan health outcomes. This can and should be addressed through research into healthcare delivery in these settings and with training programs for the right mix of health professionals to meet community needs."
Professor Crotty said Deakin courses were designed to equip medical, nursing and allied health graduates with the skills they needed to practise in rural and regional Australia.
"Deakin Rural Health and the Centre for Rural Emergency Medicine in Warrnambool are actively researching the health issues faced by regional and rural Australians, and delivering programs and training to address them," he said.
"Through the National Centre for Farmer Health in Hamilton, we're working to improve the health, wellbeing and safety of farm men and women, farm workers, their families and farming communities across Australia.
"And we've recently received Commonwealth funding to set up the West Victorian Regional Training Hub, which will allow medical graduates to complete most of their specialist training in our region."
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