“Better health in the bush”: why we urgently need a national rural and remote health strategy

John Wakerman and John S Humphreys
Med J Aust 2019; 210 (5): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50041
Published online: 25 February 2019

What are the problems in rural health service delivery and what can we do about them?

For decades, the Australian Government has been wrestling with how to “fix the rural health problem”. Long‐standing problems of workforce shortages and maldistribution, difficulties with recruitment and retention, and inadequate access to, and availability of, appropriate services persist.1 These contribute to the poor health status of many non‐metropolitan Australians, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, despite the fact that governments spend millions of dollars annually on specific rural and remote health programs.2

  • 1 Flinders Northern Territory, Flinders University, Darwin, NT
  • 2 School of Rural Health, Monash University, Bendigo, VIC


John Wakerman receives funding from the Australian Government Department of Health, the Northern Territory Government Department of Health and the Medical Research Future Fund through the Central Australian Academic Health Science Centre.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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