Graphic: Stethoscope

New rural primary health services announced

Date published

20 Dec 2016

Primary Health Tasmania has commissioned the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Tasmania and a consortium of local Government Councils to deliver improved health outcomes in the municipalities of Dorset, Break O'Day, George Town and Flinders Island.

The vision of the RFDS Tasmania is to improve health outcomes for all Tasmanians with a specific focus on remote and rural areas. These services will be provided in partnership with the four Local Government Areas (LGA's) and help achieve this mission.

The Consortium will address the following chronic health conditions:
> mental illness
> heart disease
> lung disease
> dementia

The role of the RFDS is to lead and coordinate the new services in the rural municipalities.

The approach by the RFDS is driven by a focus on reducing preventable hospitalisations due to complications from the targeted chronic conditions. This will be achieved by improving access to services in regional and remote Tasmania and concentrating on health promotion activities.

The RFDS model is one of coordination and cooperation which can respond to the communities needs. For example, physical activity programs might be developed within an LGA to improve health outcomes for people living with cardiovascular disease, dementia, lung disease and mental health issues.

The RFDS will deliver the services through locally based Rural Health Workers who will:
> actively identify community members disengaged from health services and implement effective care for these individuals;
> map community needs and existing services to identify gaps for resolution;
> deliver one-on-one sessions, small group education programs and health promotion activities
> provide appropriate treatment, care coordination, transfer of care services and an interface of specialist services;
> link to local GPs; and
> support Diabetes Tasmania to deliver improved health outcomes for people with diabetes.

RFDS Tasmania plans to maintain appropriate services for people with these conditions under the previous rural health program in the communities. Where this is not possible, a transition plan will be negotiated.

Martin Laverty, RFDS Federation CEO, spoke at a recent National Rural Health Alliance address to the National Press in Canberra about reducing health outcome access disparities between the city and bush. Martin's address is found here.

For further information please visit the Primary Health Tasmania website.