RDN recognises the numerous changes and challenges facing primary health care settings across Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including concerns for the health and wellbeing of health professionals themselves.
Our current efforts are focused on providing support services to rural health professionals and communities and moving to digital delivery platforms where possible to deliver our development and training offerings.
- Wellbeing and self-care resources on #RuralHealthTogether
- COVID-19 resources on Rural Health Pro
- RDN COVID-19 Delta Workforce Response Register and Matching Service
- Online CPD and training
- Funding for vaccination training
- Outreach services
Information and resources
> Government updates
Check the NSW and Australian government websites for the latest information about COVID-19.
On #RuralHealthTogether you can find information and support for looking after your wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can also find a range of COVID-19 resources on Rural Health Pro. A community and content platform, Rural Health Pro is powered by RDN and provides a hub to share knowledge, support, training, resources and funding opportunities.
We recognise the importance of an agile and responsive health workforce during these rapidly changing times. Our COVID-19 (Delta) Workforce Response Register has been opened and is building a database of health professionals, ready to provide on-the-ground and telehealth support.
> What type of support is needed?
RDN is currently working to clarify the support rural facilities, practices and individuals require. At present, a priority is for additional health workers and health administrators on the ground to help Aboriginal Health Services (AHS) and Primary Care Practices with vaccine rollout; however, this may evolve in the coming weeks.
Some examples of support include:
- A COVID-19 vaccination accredited nurse able to travel to a rural location to support general practice.
- A general practitioner or nurse based in their home town, providing telehealth consultations to a remote location.
- Practice managers providing remote leadership and support to a site where COVID-19 has impacted a practice manager.
- A recently retired health professional assisting in their area of expertise.
- Individuals with practice administration experience providing remote support to a practice where non-clinical staff are currently focused on implementing infection control mechanisms.
> Register your interest in providing support
We seek Expressions of Interest (EOI) from GPs, nurses, allied health professionals, specialists, practice managers and administrators who can provide placement or telehealth support to communities.
RDN will work to match individuals with sites that suit their background, skills and experience; look to provide upskilling and training if needed; and offer onboarding support.
If you can help, please complete this Expression of Interest form and a member of the Workforce Team will be in touch.
> Request for support
RDN’s Matching Service aims to connect appropriate candidates with practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are now calling on general practices in MMM2-7 locations to register their request for additional or replacement workforce coverage.
If your practice requires additional registered nurses or practice administration staff to support vaccine rollout, please complete the following form and RDN will be in touch to discuss your needs in more detail.
RDN has been a trusted leader of rural health workforce education and training for more than 30 years and continues to offer health professionals opportunities through the COVID-19 pandemic.
To continue to support the rural health workforce, we have invested in webinar technologies and adapted our education and training programs to be delivered online for the foreseeable future.
Visit our events web page for the latest learning opportunities.
The Health Workforce Scholarship Program (HWSP) provides scholarships and bursaries to help health professionals in rural and remote Australia retain and enhance their skills, capacity and scope of practice. If your community requires an Authorised Nurse Immuniser, then funding may be available to support upskilling.
The HWSP is available to medical, nursing, midwifery, allied health, dental and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals providing primary health care in the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) sector and rural non-government organisations and private practice.
> Health Workforce Scholarship Program
We understand COVID-19 may have impacted your ability to complete your Health Workforce Scholarship Program (HWSP)-funded course, training or conference as outlined in your contract. It may be that your course, training or conference has been postponed or cancelled. Please get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible to discuss your situation and options.
> Information for Outreach health practitioners, host facilities and subcontractors providing RDN-funded services
In light of the evolving COVID-19 situation and the heightened risk environment, we remind all stakeholders involved in delivering outreach services to continue to exercise extreme caution when providing care to rural, remote and Aboriginal communities in NSW. RDN supports the continued provision of outreach services if and when it is safe for the patients, communities and health practitioners involved.
We strongly encourage the use of telehealth by all providers who are based in or have visited Greater Sydney or any hotspot areas to deliver services.
RDN will uphold the principle of local discussion-making and support locally identified solutions to maintain patient access. Our priority is to keep rural and Aboriginal communities safe during this time.
> Should health practitioners continue to provide Outreach services?
RDN will support the continued provision of Outreach clinics to maintain patient access to health services when it is safe for patients, the community and health practitioners. Individual health practitioners wishing to travel to deliver health outreach services must follow relevant NSW Health advice and ensure that they have a Covid-safe plan in place for travel in addition to the management of clinical services.
RDN requires all health practitioners to design these plans in collaboration with the facility/ies that host your Outreach services to discuss and comply with the facility’s infection control protocols.
> What alternative methods of service delivery will be supported?
The following options are recommended if local health facilities, Outreach health practitioners and/or RDN’s Outreach subcontractors feel changes to Outreach service models are needed to provide safe Outreach clinics:
- Explore alternative methods of Outreach service provision if needed, such as:
- explore telehealth service delivery options, including technology and updated Medicare Items, to provide clinics where appropriate
- consider safe modes of travel for Outreach health practitioners
- frequency and length of visits, potentially fewer, longer visits
- use of alternative rooms at host facility or another local clinical space
- consider changes to workflow and visiting health practitioner induction to comply with the host facility’s current infection control protocols and/or
- other locally identified solutions.
- Health practitioners and host facilities should contact the relevant local/regional Outreach subcontractor agency (e.g. ACCHSs, LHD, PHN or NGO) to discuss support for any proposed changes.
- Outreach subcontractor organisations and health practitioners directly contracted by RDN should contact the facility (e.g. practice or community health centre) to discuss support for any proposed changes, or contact RDN’s Outreach Team.
> Outreach contact information
RDN’s Outreach Team
email@example.com or phone 02 8337 8100.
Local/regional Outreach subcontractor partners
Outreach services currently funded by RDN and local partner subcontractors are (i.e. ACCHSs, LHDs, PHNs and NGOs) are listed here.