Improving access to rural health care
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Doctors and allied health professionals are in short supply in rural and remote areas of Australia. Added to this, scattered populations and small communities make meeting the health needs of the people living and working in these areas a challenge. Major Australian Government measures set by the newly established Office of Rural Health and visa arrangements for overseas trained medical doctors will help. At the local level, traditional approaches must make way for health services that are flexible and responsive to local circumstances to better meet the diverse needs of the population. Current rural research has a role at different stages of policy implementation: assessing the impact of infrastructure changes designed to improve pathways to care, and identifying and evaluating how local rural services are contributing to improved quality of care through increased inter-disciplinary cooperation.