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Message from our CEO
Given that rural and remote Australians are often more exposed to risk factors for mental health, and face higher rates of mental illness and suicide than people living in metropolitan areas, there is still much work to be done to facilitate more psychologists to consider a rural career.  Psychologists rank as the most numerous among the allied health professions with 26,311 registered psychologists working in Australia in 2017, or 91 FTE psychologists per 100,000 population.  But 83% of psychologists work in major cities, and this trend is repeated for all the allied health professions. The distribution of allied health professionals working in rural and remote Australia has not improved in recent years despite record numbers of graduating health professionals.  In fact, the statistics appear to be worsening in the case of Psychology, where the number of registered psychologists working in very remote Australia actually declined between 2014 – 2018 (Dept Health 2017).
Why is this the case?  We could speculate that the expansion in mental health items available for psychologists and other health professionals on the Medical Benefits Schedule has increased overall demand for mental health services, meaning that city-based psychologists need not look further afield for opportunities.  Or perhaps increasing access to telehealth services has reduced incentives for psychologists and other mental health workers to provide face-to-face services, including outreach to rural communities. 
While the evidence suggests that psychological services delivered via telehealth are effective, it is not the panacea for resolving poor access to allied health services in the bush. We know that the management of mental illness requires a team-based approach requiring health professionals to work with each other in a complementary fashion.  In primary health care settings allied health professionals are not remunerated for their time to participate in the care coordination activities required to tailor services to client needs – although they do this pro bono because they understand its importance.  This issue has been brought to the attention of the National Rural Health Commissioner in his investigation of allied health workforce access, distribution and quality, in considering ways to improve the viability of allied health businesses in rural and remote communities.
The National Rural Health Commissioner’s work is notable in that it is the first time light has been shed on the important contribution made by allied health professionals to the health system, particularly in rural and remote Australia where their services are most needed.  There is much to be gained by implementing his forthcoming recommendations.
SARRAH Media Release


SARRAH Webinars
Our next webinar is titled - Person - Centred Emergency Preparedness: What’s my role and responsibility? and will be presented by Dr Michelle Villeneuve.
Date: Wednesday 30 October 2019
Time:12:00 PM – 1:00 PM AEDST
If you would like more information on the webinar and Dr Michelle Villeneuve please click here.
Tickets are free for SARRAH members and for non-members the cost will be $30. If you are a member and would like to attend please contact us at to receive the access code for your free ticket.
Your event URL to book your ticket is here

SARRAH Photo Competition
  • Do you have a flair for photography?
  • Would you like to win a 1 year SARRAH individual membership?
We live and work in a wonderfully diverse country so we would like to see photos depicting "A Rural Life" this maybe the view from your office, your community, something unique to where you live and work, or amazing people you know.

NOTE: SARRAH will be using the photos in publications, on our website and on social media. If you have taken photos with people in them you will need to ask them to complete a permission form which is available from us. Please also be aware of any possible privacy issues - more information is available here
and the Privacy Act 1988

You can enter multiple times, so please send your photos to

The picture below is our president Rob Curry with his beloved tractor.
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs Provider News has published an article, ‘Free webinar: treating PTSD in veterans and when things go wrong'. The article invites health providers to register to attend the next webinar in the DVA series about mental health and the military experience. 29 October 2019: Treating PTSD in Veterans: When and why things go wrong and what we can do about it.

Free PD webinars from the Mental Health Professionals’ Network (MHPN)
Suicide Prevention and Postvention - an interdisciplinary approach
Register now to attend this professional development webinar on Monday 28 October, 7.15 – 8.30 pm AEDT.
Learn about mental health risk factors for suicide and explore strategies which build capacity between practitioners treating people who may be at risk of suicide or who are responding to a death by suicide.    
Funded by The General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaboration (GPMHSC) and presented by the GPMHSC and the Mental Health Professionals’ Network, this webinar is free and available for view on your computer or mobile device.
Register here or visit for more.
Applications for Round 2 of the 2019-20 Health Workforce Scholarship Program (HWSP) in South Australia are now open.
Applications for funding to undertake relevant post-graduate studies, short courses, training workshops and attendances at conferences will be considered. Costs for travel, accommodation and course fees will also be considered.
More information, including eligibility criteria and the online application form, can be accessed via the RDWA website: Health Workforce Scholarship Program
Applications are open until 5pm, Monday 28 October 2019.

Other News

BreastScreen Australia monitoring report 2019 - The Australian Institute of Health & Welfare says 55% of women in the targeted age group of 50-74 participated in the BreastScreen Australia in 2016-2017, with more than 1.8 million screening. Breast cancer mortality has decreased since BreastScreen Australia began, from 74 deaths per 100,000 women aged 50-74 in 1991, to 41 deaths per 100,000 women in 2017.

Free flu vaccine offered mostly in wealthy suburbs - A University of Adelaide study into the impact of state-funded vaccination programs for Australian children under five years has found those attending medical practices in the wealthiest areas were more likely to receive the vaccine.

Low cervical screening rates explained - New research reveals lack of time and embarrassment are among the main reasons Australian women have such a low rate of screening for cervical cancer and why screening levels are falling.

Mental health services in Australia - Mental health services in Australia (MHSA) provides a picture of the national response of the health and welfare service system to the mental health care needs of Australians. MHSA is updated progressively throughout each year as data becomes available.
Upcoming Events & Conferences

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

AOPA Congress 2019 - Melbourne, VIC
24-26 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
Occupational Therapist - Working in a multidisciplinary community care team, you will work in a restorative care approach to return clients to their usual activities of daily living. Independently managing a diverse caseload, you will provide assessment and intervention for home safety, home modifications, and equipment prescription.

Speech Pathologist - Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network, Riverland Community Health Services, Berri.
Under the direct supervision of the Speech Pathologist (Department Coordinator), you will contribute to the delivery of a comprehensive and integrated range of health services appropriate to the needs of the Riverland community.
Mental Health Clinician Candidate Pool - Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network, Murray Bridge & Berri. This is a great opportunity to enjoy being part of a friendly country health service, where you will experience broad exposure to a variety of clinical settings. You will contribute to the delivery of a comprehensive and integrated range of evidence-based, recovery-oriented services across the multidisciplinary Mental Health Service appropriate to the needs of consumers in the Riverland and Murray Mallee communities.

Allied Health Candidate Pool - Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network is accepting applications for Allied Health positions located in the Riverland Region. Applicants for Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Podiatry, Speech Pathology, Dietetics and Social Worker roles, interested in ongoing, temporary or casual employment are welcome.

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.

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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