“I have endured a number of the inequalities and challenges people living in rural and remote communities face every day. My mother fell sick when I was 3 years old. With no available healthcare centre she was moved six hours away to Dubbo to access the care she needed. Within ten days of my mother becoming sick, she passed away. She passed so suddenly that many of my family did not get to see her as she was so far away”.
“People living in rural communities do not have access to important allied health services such as dentistry, occupational therapy, dietitians, which require people to travel great distances to get this care. Without this access it could lead to chronic disease and have future impacts on health and wellbeing,”
IAHA member and social work student Nicola Barker, a Ngemba Murriwarri woman from Brewarrina in far west NSW, understands these struggles all too well.
Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA), a national, not for profit member-based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health organisation, is calling on major parties and their candidates to increase investment in remote and rural allied health services this election.
The current level of remote and rural healthcare spending is inadequate to equitably meet the essential allied healthcare needs of those living in remote and rural areas.
As stated by the National Rural Health Alliance, there is currently a $2 billion deficit in rural and remote healthcare spending which includes a collective $1.45 billion deficit in allied health services when including dental and pharmacy. This has real implications on the everyday lives of remote and rural Australians, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
IAHA affirms that access is more than just physical or geographical access, it also includes the cultural, economic and social factors which all impact on whether Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people use allied health services.
Group shot of IAHA members at a Leadership workshop Rainbow Valley Alice Springs
“Remote and rural workforce models must be community driven and meet the needs of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” says IAHA CEO, Donna Murray. “Investment that supports community aspirations, including building a strong remote and rural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health workforce, is critical.”
Before heading to the polls this election, IAHA would like to encourage voters to look at where their local candidates stand on remote and rural allied health care and health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
NACCHO would like thank IAHA for support of our