The major challenges facing the smaller communities in the RAMJO region is maintaining basic health services whilst also addressing the changing needs of the ageing population, as well as the increased demand for mental health services both for young people and adults.
The loss of health services (such as general practitioners, dentists, allied health professionals, and specialist medical services such as obstetricians) results in further population decline as people relocate to metropolitan areas to be close to these important services.
Successful strategies for maintaining health services to date include Councils providing housing and medical facilities and the provision of GP training locally.
Whilst there have been successes in maintaining key medical professionals for these rural areas through these strategies, gaps still exist, and innovative solutions are required to address these.
NSW Health believes in the creation of self-reliant regions where residents can get the best possible services close to home. This involves developing regional centres of excellence such as Albury Wodonga Health with its Cancer Care Centre, regional health hubs, and developing new models of care to take the pressure off major hospitals e.g. establishing systems and supports to utilise smaller hospitals for recovery and recuperation following treatment at a major centre.
These strategies require improvements in transport, digital connectivity (e-health), infrastructure, workforce training and new service provision. RAMJO has a role in working with health service providers (and training organisations) to ensure the needs of the communities are met (and are affordable) with consideration given to the broader underlying supports/enablers required and to identify the potential role of councils.
Our Goals to Better Match Health Services to Our Changing Needs
RAMJO will achieve:
- A shared Strategy and a shared Implementation and Resourcing Plan (I&R Plan) for improved health and health service provision in the region
- An alliance of three levels of government that supports action and investment to improve health service provision
- Increased funding for health infrastructure and services
- Improved access to health and medical services closer to home – locally and regionally
- Reduced health-related population loss