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Rural Women's GP Service.



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Media Release

The Hon Tony Abbott MHR Minister for Health and Ageing

14 July 2004 ABB112/04

Rural Women's GP Service

More women living in rural and remote communities will have better access to a female GP following the expansion of the Rural Women’s GP Service operated by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Last year, the Commonwealth Government committed a further $8 million over four years to the Royal Flying Doctor Service to continue the Rural Women’s GP Service. This expansion means a further 24 communities will receive regular visits from a female GP and brings the total number of communities across Australia to benefit from the service to more than 200.

This extra money means more women in rural and remote communities can discuss their health needs with a female doctor.

Communities eligible to receive the service in the latest expansion are; Dunedoo/Coolah, Gilgandra and Warren in NSW; Port Keats and Lajamanu in the Northern Territory; Yarrabah and Longreach in Queensland; Bothwell in Tasmania; and Harvey in Western Australia.

An additional 15 communities will take part in a 12-month trial to consider improvements to service delivery. The communities to be involved in the trial include Cooktown, Wujal Wujal, Hopevale and Laura in Queensland; Balranald, Menindee, Pooncarie, Ivanhoe and Wilcannia in NSW; Timber Creek and Yarralin in the Northern Territory; and Mukinbudin, Bencubbin, Koorda and Kununoppin in Western Australia.

Over the past four years, the Rural Women’s GP Service has provided more than 32,000 consultations to rural and remote communities.

The success of this service depends on local cooperation and it is pleasing to see community organisations, local government and health providers in regional and remote areas working together for the benefit of their town.

Media contact: Kate Jordan, 0417 425 227

Background to the Australian Government’s Rural Women’s GP Service is attached.

Background

The Australian Government’s Rural Women’s GP Service aims to improve access to primary and secondary health care services for women in rural and remote Australia who currently have little or no access to a female GP.

Services offered by the GP during the course of consultations include cervical cancer screenings, breast and skin examinations and other preventative health care. In addition, the service identifies and provides education and self-help information necessary for other conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, menopause, psychosocial problems and conditions related to the reproductive system and sexual health.

The total amount committed to the service by the Australian Government since the 1999 Budget is more than $16 million.

The delivery model to be trialled over a 12-month period involves delivering the service to a larger populated ‘hub’ location, as well as less populated ‘spoke’ locations within a defined geographical area. The hub and spoke trial is for 12 months only as it is considered that the benefits or otherwise of the model will become apparent within a relatively short period.

Success of the service depends on the cooperation of the local host GPs, as well as community organisations, local government and health providers.

Since 1996, around $2 billion has been spent on targeted rural health and aged care initiatives nationally.

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Published on Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing web site 14 July 2004 Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing URL: http://www.health.gov.au/mediarel/yr2004/ta/abb112.htm