Skip to content
CharitiesAidWelfare, Medical Health Aged Care

Numbers don’t lie: increased investment in rural health care urgently needed

National Rural Health Alliance 2 mins read

New data released today shows a strong correlation between reduced access to primary healthcare in rural Australia and high rates of potentially preventable hospitalisations, as well as highlighting the need for increased investment in rural health care.

The National Rural Health Alliance (the Alliance) is concerned about new rural and remote health data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) which shows potentially avoidable deaths and hospitalisations were two to three times higher in remote and very remote areas compared with major cities. In addition, the number of non-hospital, non-referred attendances per person were lowest in remote and very remote communities.

“The Alliance urgently calls for increased investment in rural health care, given the appalling health spending deficit in rural Australia which has compounded the health problems faced by our rural communities,” said the Alliance Chief Executive Susi Tegen.

“We know the biggest deficits are in accessing primary health care as well as other MBS expenditure and private hospitals from a research report the Alliance released in June 2023, ‘Evidence base for additional investment in rural health in Australia’ compiled by Nous Group. The deficit in accessing primary health care then leads to increased hospital expenditure.

“The Nous report quantified the rural health deficit at $6.55 billion annually. That equates to approximately $850 per person per annum in the context of a population of more than 7 million people living in rural Australia.

“There is clear evidence that per-person spending on healthcare is not equitable, and that this inequity is contributing to poorer health outcomes experienced in rural areas,” said Ms Tegen.

The numbers released today by AIHW confirm that rural areas also continue to have low levels of health workforce and higher rates of burden of disease and preventable death.

The total burden has risen to 200 and 204 disability-adjusted life years (DALY) per 1,000 population for inner and outer regional areas, respectively, and 244 DALY per 1,000 population in remote and very remote areas.

“The Alliance is working with Federal, state and local governments, as well as communities to ensure that we develop solutions which are fit for purpose and sustainable. However, these require innovative thinking, equity and funding flexibility, because a city plan, often does not fit, nor work in rural Australia.

“Current funding models and service delivery arrangements create significant barriers to workforce recruitment and retention, further exacerbating the funding shortfall. Providing rural people equitable services is crucial. The need for greater and more strategic investment in the health of rural Australians is urgently felt and must be addressed. We have a social and economic contract to do so,” concluded Ms Tegen.

Contact details:

Kathya de Silva, Media and Communications Officer,, 0470 487 608


More from this category

  • Medical Health Aged Care
  • 07/12/2023
  • 13:30
Royal Australian College of GPs and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine

Public consultation on Rural Generalist Medicine recognition closes next Tuesday

With less than one week to go until the public consultation closes on recognition of Rural Generalist Medicine (RGM) as a specialist field, Australia’s two GP colleges urge doctors and community members to have their say. The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) are buoyed by the conversation that has been generated on the recognition of RGM throughout the process. ACRRM President Dr Dan Halliday says it has been wonderful to see the engagement through the recent webinars hosted by the Rural Generalist Taskforce, through College channels and at…

  • Contains:
  • Medical Health Aged Care, Science
  • 07/12/2023
  • 13:26
The Florey

Researchers identify neurons in the brain that control nasofacial muscles during breathing

Whilst most of us consider breathing a relatively simple process, it actually requires complex coordination of many muscles to enable airflow into and out of the lungs and to control airflow to allow us to talk, eat, and drink. Breathing also influences other related brain functions, such as emotional state, sense of smell, blood pressure, and heart rate. Breathing is generated in a brain region called Pre-Bötzinger complex (preBötC), which is composed of many subgroups of neurons that are breathing and non-breathing related. Up to now, due to technical limitations, it was almost impossible to specifically silence a subgroup of…

  • Medical Health Aged Care
  • 07/12/2023
  • 13:19
Royal Australian College of GPs

GPs vital to improving National Disability Insurance Scheme

The Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) has welcomed the final National Disability Insurance Scheme report and reiterated calls for GPs to be better utilised. It comes following the release today of the final report into the scheme. RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins said that GPs must be front and centre. “It is concerning that the report doesn’t deeply delve into healthcare for people with a disability, including general practice care,” she said. “The Government must recognise that GPs play a vital role in disability care, and barriers do exist. For example, there is no Medicare patient rebate for NDIS…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time your distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.