Specialist outreach services in regional and remote Australia: key drivers and policy implications

Belinda G O'Sullivan, Johannes U Stoelwinder and Matthew R McGrail
Med J Aust 2017; 207 (3): . || doi: 10.5694/mja16.00949
Published online: 7 August 2017

Promoting the supply, distribution and sustainability of rural outreach services requires multilevel policy development and regional service planning

The need for more local specialist services to support rural communities is well established as a significant issue in Australia. Although the specialist workforce is growing, providers are increasingly choosing to subspecialise and work in metropolitan practice.1 Access to medical specialists in major cities is consistently high at 162.1 full-time equivalent specialists per 100 000 population, but diminishes for people living in inner or outer regional (82.7 and 61.5 per 100 000 respectively) and remote areas (34.2 per 100 000).2

  • Belinda G O'Sullivan1
  • Johannes U Stoelwinder2
  • Matthew R McGrail1

  • 1 School of Rural Health, Monash University, Bendigo, VIC
  • 2 School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC


This publication used data from the MABEL longitudinal survey of doctors conducted by the University of Melbourne and Monash University (the MABEL research team). Funding for MABEL comes from the National Health and Medical Research Council (Health Services Research grant, 2008–2011; Centre for Research Excellence in Medical Workforce Dynamics, 2012–2016) with additional support from the Department of Health (2008) and Health Workforce Australia (2013). Belinda O’Sullivan was supported by a Postgraduate Publications Award from Monash University.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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