23 December, 2023

Grim reading for rural

The further an Australian lives from an urban centre, the lower their life expectancy. They are also twice as likely to die from preventable illness. The latest research shows that rural men are 2.5 times and women 2.8 times more likely to die from potentially avoidable causes than those in urban areas.

Grim reading for rural - feature photo

This statistic, along with demographic information, health risk factors, health outcomes, burden of disease, mortality and morbidity and health service funding and access, are some of the data provided in the National Rural Health Alliance (the Alliance’s) Rural Health in Australia Snapshot 2023.

The snapshot also provides data on health workforce distribution in rural, regional, and remote Australia.

“The statistics show that the further you are from an urban setting, the more likely you may die of disease due to various factors, including the tyranny of distance and workforce shortages,” Alliance chief executive, Susi Tegen, said.

“Fit for purpose funding is critical to ensure that the necessary policy and infrastructure is in place.”

The Snapshot shows that small rural towns of less than 5000 people have access to almost 60 per cent fewer health professionals than major cities per capita.

“There is clear evidence that per-person spending on healthcare is not equitable, and that this inequity is contributing to poorer health outcomes in rural areas,” Ms Tegen said.

“The biggest deficits are in accessing primary health care which then leads to higher rates of costly and potentially preventable hospitalisations and increased hospital expenditure. This is a sad reflection on the rest of Australia, when not every citizen has the same access to a basic healthcare need.”


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