'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.
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
3rd Party Research publications
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.
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more