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Message from our CEO

SARRAH supports Climate Action
Climate change has been in the media this week (alongside Brexit and an impeachment inquiry).  Greta Thunberg’s passionate plea to the United Nations for urgent action highlights the prominence of this issue in the collective consciousness of our young people, and the subsequent public reaction brings home to me that we should engage our future leaders and not patronise them.
In April this year SARRAH joined the Climate and Health Alliance, signing an open letter to political parties calling for support for a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Wellbeing.  Rural and remote communities are at the coalface of climate change, and we at SARRAH are ever-mindful of the impact of prolonged drought and devastating floods on the health and wellbeing of rural and remote Australians. 

The burden of disease and illness increases in rural Australia as access to services decreases
This week the National Mental Health Commission released its report on mental health and suicide prevention, reinforcing the higher burden of mental illness for people who live in rural and remote Australia, and the lack of available services to support people experiencing mental health issues.  And as we know, the demand for services, the illness and disease rates of rural communities, the cost of delivering health services and the negative impacts for productivity in regional, rural and remote Australia will not reduce if there is not a rural workforce to provide them.
Jobs for the Future in Regional Areas
Health professionals play an important role in helping communities adapt and build resilience to the unavoidable climate change impacts already locked in. In addition to delivering skills and employment for people living in rural areas directly, AHPs provide services that support economic participation, recovery and participation across the population and impact the productivity of every industry sector.  Developing the allied and related health and support workforce – with career and role-models, clinical and work experience and pathways options in rural communities - should be an employment priority. To this end, SARRAH has made a submission to the Select Committee into Jobs for the Future in Regional Areas, which you can read here.

The SARRAH policy manager has written a brief overview below on 2 reports the first is from the Australian Institute of Heath and Welfare, and the second is from the National Mental Health Commission, a link has been provided if you would like to read the full reports.

AIHW Report - Health Expenditure Australia 2017-18
In 2017–18, an estimated $185.4 billion was spent on health goods and services in Australia; equating to an average of around $7,485 per person, making up 10% of overall economic activity for the year.
The Report is produced annually and also tracks spending trends over the decade. The report provides a useful overview but doesn’t illuminate spending on either allied health or rurality. Some of notable points from this report are:
  • A real increase in overall health expenditure of 1.2 per cent between 2016-17 and 2017-18;
  • This equated to per person health expenditure of $7,485 – which was $27 lower than for the previous year, due to population increasing at a higher rate than overall health spending;
  • Health spending as a proportion of overall tax revenue also dropped - noting there was a significant increase in tax revenue, above the rate of health spendin);
  • Out of pocket costs per person rose, following a decline in the previous year.
The report also provides insight to where individuals spend money on health – i.e. outside of hospital funding, MBS and PBS subsidies, PHI or other systemic supports: spending “…by individuals equated to an average of $1,235 per person in 2017–18. This was made up of: $380 spent on non-subsidised medications; $243 on dental services; $162 on both referred and unreferred medical services; $157 on hospital services; $118 on aids and appliances; $91 on health practitioners, such as practice nurses, chiropractors, optometrists and physiotherapists; and $59 on medications that were partly subsidised by the PBS.” (see page 28).
Of course further analysis is needed, but if Australians on average spend four times as much on non-subsidised medications ($380) as they do on “health practitioners, such as practice nurses, chiropractors, optometrists and physiotherapists” and, it appears, other AHPs ($91), does it suggest the balance of our health system in encouraging access and supports for preventative, restorative, therapeutical and enabling care is optimal?  Are we doing enough to enable active healthy ageing, behaviour change and preventing avoidable illness and hospitalisation? Read the full report here

The National Mental Health Commission - released its Monitoring mental health and suicide prevention reform: National Report 2019 this week. The Report highlights many important and familiar themes: the need for less fragmentation across the policy and service system; the impact of social determinants; implications of the NDIS roll-out; and the need for a National Mental Health Workforce Strategy, as identified in the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan (2017), to name a few.
The National Report is highly relevant to rural and remote health, of course, but does not provide the focus it needs.  Monitoring and reporting on progress in mental health and suicide prevention must include a clear focus on rural and remote Australia - especially given the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan (2017) reported (pages 6-7):
“There is a higher burden of mental illness for people who live in rural and remote Australia due to a number of factors. While the prevalence of illness in rural and remote Australia is similar to that in major cities, the impact of mental illness is much greater. Mental health professionals are in short supply, with rates declining markedly with remoteness; with 88% of psychiatrists and 75% of psychologists employed in major cities, and only 3 psychiatrists per 100,000 population and 30 psychologists per 100,000 population employed in remote and very remote areas.
Incidence of suicide is 30 per cent higher in regional/rural areas and twice as high in remote areas, while mental health hospitalisations are higher by at least 10 per cent and intentional self-harm and drug and alcohol issues are higher by up to double when compared with major cities. The lack of available services results in many people not accessing prevention, primary health care and early intervention services: they present late, are diagnosed late and often are at a more advanced stage of illness, with corresponding physical comorbidities”
. (pages 6-7)

With the report of the National Rural Health Commissioner into Rural Allied Health Quality, Access and Distribution due with the Commonwealth Government next month, the need is clear and hopefully the Government’s response will help meet it.
SARRAH Policy Manager

SARRAH Webinars

Our next webinar is on Thursday 3 October 2019 from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM (AEST). Get your tickets here.

An overview of the "Allied Health Rural Generalist Workforce and Education Scheme" (AHRGWES). This FREE webinar will provide an overview of the Allied Health Rural Generalist Workforce and Education Scheme (AHRGWES).
Only 100 places available so don't delay in registering. If you are unable to attend we will record the webinar and make it available to everyone on our website.

Future Webinars
30 October 2019
Time to be confirmed
Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness: What’s my role and responsibility? Dr Michelle Villeneuve
November (TBC)
Date & Time to be confirmed
“Rural Insights; Exploring the experiences of clinical service providers working within the NDIS” Rhys Dintino, Luke Wakely and Rebecca Wolfgang

The Bolgna Declaration is a short but powerful and inspiring policy document that calls for action to Unlock Human Potential by make Assistive Technology largely available and accessible at global and local scale. It was written as a common effort by the delegates participating in a pre-conference Meeting ahead of the 15th international conference of the Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe (AAATE) held in Bologna, Italy, on 27 August 2019.   
It is possible to endorse The Bologna Declaration, either as an organisation or as an individual. The AAATE is committed to bringing the Declaration to the highest possible level of policy making at all levels and you can do the same by clicking on the link and filling in your details.

Other News

National Preventive Health Strategy to tackle overweight & obesity & role of complementary medicines. The aim is to help Australians improve their health via early intervention, better information and the targeting of modifiable risk factors as well as the broader causes of poor health.
Dementia the leading cause of death of women, second of all Australians Australians are more likely to die of dementia than almost any other disease - with the exception of heart disease.
Frail the focus of Future Fund - A University of Adelaide study investigating the benefits of mobile X-ray services for residential aged care facilities has received $1,970,000 in funding from the Medical Research Future Fund.

Inaugural Childhood Brain Cancer Awareness Day - It is estimated around 100 children aged 0-14 years are diagnosed with brain cancer each year, and an estimated 36 children will die from brain cancer in 2019.
Upcoming Events & Conferences


2019 Asia-Pacific health leadership congress
9-11 October - Gold Coast

Successes and Failures in Telehealth Conference - Gold Coast, QLD
21 - 23 October
19th Successes and Failures in Telehealth Conference

Rural Medicines Australia 2019 - Gold Coast, QLD
23-26 October

RACGP Annual Conference 2019 - Adelaide, SA
24-26 October

Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium - Adelaide, SA
28-30 October

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For information on other upcoming events please visit our website here
Current Job Vacancies
Physiotherapist 2 Positions - Mount Isa
Full time positions, Salary Range: Pending qualification and years of experience, 5 weeks annual leave (17.5% leave loading), superannuation, 2 return flights to value of $1800, $5,200 professional development allowance, retention incentive, salary packaging available.

Occupational Therapist 2 Positions - Mount Isa

The Occupational Therapist reports to the Allied Health Manager and is part of the Health Services team. The position is responsible for working in conjunction with a small multi-disciplinary Primary Health Care team in the delivery of culturally appropriate Occupational Therapy to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, including paediatrics, school-based programs, chronic disease self-management and rehabilitation.The role will entail outreach service delivery from clinic-based and community-based settings, both in Mount Isa and outreach to the communities of Mornington Island, Doomadgee, Burketown, Normanton and Karumba.

Podiatrist Senior

Podiatrist Senior position is to deliver a specialist clinical podiatry service to all clients in Cooktown and Weipa with a particular focus on 'high risk foot' problems. High risk foot problems are particularly relevant for clients with chronic disease, those diagnosed with amputations, foot ulcerations, peripheral neuropathy, peripheral vascular disease, gross foot deformities and biomechanical presentations.

Senior Dietitian

The Senior Dietitian position provides comprehensive, effective and efficient patient/client centred dietetic and nutrition services, appropriate with level of experience, for individuals whose health needs are the primary focus of an interdisciplinary healthcare team approach. This position delivers clinical and community services within a multidisciplinary environment within the Cooktown Multipurpose Health Service including food service consultancy, acute, ambulatory and residential aged care services to achieve excellence in client care, education and research.

Research Leadership and Development Opportunities
The Centre for Rural and Remote Health (CRRH), James Cook University (JCU) is part of a national network of university departments of rural health head quartered in Mount Isa, with nodes in Cloncurry, Longreach and Weipa. We now have three exciting opportunities to join our multi-disciplinary team.

Radiographer Professional 2 Remuneration Package Range $97,285 - $116,335 (comprising salary $84,101 - $100,856 superannuation, leave loading and the value of 2 weeks extra recreation leave). In addition to above Package Range professional development allowances and salary sacrifice provisions.
Copyright © 2018 Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH). All rights reserved.

Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health
Unit 4, 17 Napier Close, Deakin, ACT, 2600

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