Rural doctors call for political parties to change system

RURAL doctors say the nation's major political parties have between now and September to outline their plans for improving medical services in the bush.

One of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia's key requests is an overhaul of the classification system that is used to define city and country areas.

The Australian Standard Geographical Classification - Remoteness Area is used by the Federal Government when determining the level of financial support for doctors practising in rural and remote health.

RDAA president Dr Sheilagh Cronin said doctors were unanimous in calling for a change to the system.

"We have asked again and again for a complete overhaul or change of the system since it was announced more than three years ago, but so far our calls have fallen on deaf ears," Dr Cronin said.

"With the election now announced, it is an opportunity for both sides of government to show us they are listening to the feedback from the coal face, and reviewing this system that is proving so unequitable for many rural areas."

Dr Cronin said the RDAA was also requesting a commitment to maintain or increase support for rural medical services through a continuation of the current incentives.

"This is a golden opportunity for the government and opposition to demonstrate how important rural communities are in the lead-up to the September election and we call on them to announce their support for these initiatives," she said.



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