Research

Graphic: New research paper

'Bush Needs' Survey

The Royal Flying Doctor Service's most recent research paper is entitled "Health Care Access, Mental Health, and Preventative Health; Health Priority Survey Findings for People in the Bush".

A collaborative project with National Farmers Federation and the Country Women's Association of Australia has been completed. A survey of over 450 country people drawn from every state and territory, saw one-third of responses (32.5%) name doctor and medical specialist access as their key priority.

Addressing mental health (12.2%) and drug and alcohol problems (4.1%) were second and third priorities.

Health Needs

When asked where additional health expenditure should be targeted, 32.2% of responses said more funding was needed to expand access to medical services in country areas. 14.6% called for more funding of mental health programs, and health prevention and promotion was identified by 8.6% as the third priority for more funding.

Positively, more than two-thirds of responses (68.7%) said they travelled less than an hour to see a doctor for a non-emergency, with the remaining responses travelling anywhere from one to five hours. Four percent of responses travelled for more than five hours to see a doctor.

More than half (58.3%) of respondents saw a doctor within four hours for urgent medical care, with the remaining seeing a doctor anywhere from the same day to six or more days later.

RFDS CEO Martin Laverty said "One in five Australians experience a mental disorder each year. In remote and rural Australia, that means 960,000 each year deal with their mental health. Yet country people can't access the same services as people in the city."

"There's no difference in prevalence of mental illness between city and bush. Yet Flying Doctor research reveals dramatic differences in how sick people become. Poor service access, distance, cost, and continued reluctance to seek help all contribute to higher mental illness acuity."

Royal Flying Doctor Research publications

Health Care Access, Mental Health, and Preventative Health; Health Priority Survey Findings for People in the Bush

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Mental Health in Rural and Remote Communities

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Providing Aeromedical care to Remote Indigenous Communities

Providing Aeromedical care to Remote Indigenous Communities

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Responding to Injuries in remote and rural Australia

Responding to Injuries in remote and rural Australia

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Filling the Gap: Disparities in oral health access and outcomes

Filling the Gap: Disparities in oral health access and outcomes

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3rd Party Research publications

The Centre for International Economics report March 2015

The Centre for International Economics report March 2015

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Strong Fathers, Strong Families - A preliminary report Nth Qld

Strong Fathers, Strong Families - A preliminary report Nth Qld

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Research & Policy Unit

The Royal Flying Doctor Service's Research and Policy Unit was established in mid-2015. Its three purposes are to:

1) Voice and respond to health outcome and clinical service needs of country Australians, informed by RFDS clinical data and other sourced evidence;
2) Fulfil the Safety and Quality in Health Care standard requirement to be an organization driven by information;
3) Make publicly available RFDS clinical data and clinical research findings to contribute to public policy and clinical practice improvements.

The Research and Policy Unit can be contacted on 02 6269 5500 or by email.

Clinical Research

Clinical Research

The Research and Policy Unit hosts the Royal Flying Doctor Service's Clinical and Health Services Research Committee. You can find details on the composition of the committee here.

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Rural and remote

Defining Rural and Remote

Royal Flying Doctor research is specifically pertinent and related to rural and remote Australia, so it is vital that we define what these terms actually mean.

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Research staff

Research and Policy Unit staff

The RFDS research is conducted by a small team in Canberra, ACT. Here are details on the composition, skills and experience of our team.

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Clinical Research Resources

Royal Flying Doctor Service clinical staff contribute to research projects conducted externally to the organisations.

A sample of these projects will be available soon.