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Improved health care for women in rural Australia cleared by Papa.

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Monday, 24 February 2003


Rural women in Charlton will now have improved access to a female GP, thanks to an extended partnership between the Federal Government and the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the Federal Member for Mallee, John Forrest, announced today.

The expanded Rural Women's General Practitioner Service will provide women in rural and remote communities throughout Australia with the opportunity to make better health care choices.

"Women are often more comfortable discussing more sensitive medical issues such as breast and cervical cancer, contraception and gynaecological and obstetric care with a female doctor," Mr Forrest said. "While this is a choice urban women take for granted, it is not an option for many women living in rural areas."

The program is a partnership between the Federal Government and the Royal Flying Doctor Service and has had more than one hundred locations approved nationally since it commenced in 1999.

"This initiative will provide the services of female doctors to many regional communities that currently have little or no access to a female GP. It will also provide education and self-help information enabling women to play a greater role in their own health care," said Mr Forrest.

The Federal Government allocated $2 million this year for the initiative, with a total funding of $8.2 million over the four years since 1999.

"This is another way of tackling the issue of getting more doctors and services out into the rural communities," he said.

Mr Forrest also thanked the community organisations, including local government and health providers, that took part in developing service.

The Rural Women's General Practitioner Service is part of the Commonwealth Government's focus on rural health, which aims to improve the range of health care services and strengthen the health workforce in rural communities across Australia. Since 1996, around $2 billion has been spent on targeted rural health and aged care initiatives nationally.