Rural health commissioner to continue

By Jamie Salter

Rural communities and the rural health workforce will continue to have an independent advocate, following the Federal Government’s decision to extend the Office of the National Rural Health Commissioner.

The office will take a broader approach to rural health, and will help deliver the government’s key reforms to support practical change for communities.

Federal Regional Health Minister Mark Coulton said it was vital the office, established in 2017, continued as an ongoing feature of the government’s commitment to improving health outcomes for rural Australians.

“We are extending the Office of the Rural Health Commissioner so it may build on the work of inaugural commissioner, Professor Paul Worley, and maintain the confidence of vulnerable rural communities facing doctor shortages and higher burden of disease,” Mr Coulton said.

“The Coalition Government has shown it is willing to tackle head-on the challenges of health services in rural and regional Australia, including through the $550 million Stronger Rural Health Strategy, and continuing the office is a key component of our long-term approach to rural health policy.

“The office will also support the government’s ongoing rural response to COVID-19, advising on the impact COVID is having on the health workforce in regional, rural, and remote communities.”

The new commissioner will be engaged from Wednesday, July 1.