Further to the March 2016 release of the well-received Royal Flying Doctor Service research paper; Responding to Injuries in Rural and remote Australia, RFDS Tasmania has provided a supplementary submission to the Healthy Tasmania Five Year Strategic Plan.
RFDS Tasmania CEO, John Kirwan said, "In making this submission we have drawn attention to the research paper and its key findings, making two further recommendations in addition to the 12 recommendations made in February 2016."
Mr Kirwan said the RFDS supports the development of the five-year plan, due for release mid-year. "We are, however, calling for a far stronger focus on health promotion and prevention. The old adage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, is as true today as it has ever been."
Mr Kirwan stated that if we are to address the poor health outcomes in Tasmania by 2025, we must start now, because of the time and commitment required to see these initiatives through. Mr Kirwan said, "A well-focused and resourced five-year plan is a good place to start to address the growing demand on our acute hospitals and the significant health inequities between the rural, remote communities and metropolitan cities."
Mr Kirwan said it would be preferable that the five-year plan has the support of all political parties as we need to break the cycle caused by ad hoc short-term funding and the chopping and changing of priorities and programs in this important area.
The RFDS has repeated its call to acknowledge the gap between remote and rural health outcomes, relative to those living in metropolitan areas. To close the gap, the RFDS has called for clear KPIs and accountability for all the funders/commissioners and providers, which includes the RFDS.
The RFDS calls for better integration of primary health care services by providing an outline of what could be a pathway to achieve this.
The RFDS is also calling for a stronger focus on the non-government sector, both for-profit and not-for-profit as providers and innovators, noting that the RFDS has almost 90 years of proven history of providing innovative services to remote and rural areas. The RFDS welcomes the opportunity to help achieve the 2025 goal of the healthiest state in Australia.