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RDN 2022-2023 Annual Report: A Message from our CEO Richard Colbran

20th November 2023

The following is an excerpt from RDN's 2022/3 Annual Report which has been published to the RDN website:

RDN’s 35th anniversary in 2023 has been perfect timing to reflect on our vision for ‘Health access for all Australians – no matter where they live’.

RDN Governor with captionIn June, the two millionth Occasion of Service (OoS) delivered through RDN’s Health Access Services was the ultimate celebration of RDN’s impact in creating and sustaining high-quality health care access to remote, rural and Aboriginal communities.

This program, supported by the Australian Government’s Outreach program and serviced by 900 practitioners, provides consultations in 214 towns in NSW and the ACT. Two thirds of the people accessing this specialist care are Aboriginal, attending their local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service. One person every four minutes accesses a clinic and 44 per cent of patients waited less than a month after receiving their referral, to seeing a specialist.

RDN’s Health Access Services is the ultimate example of creating access ‘no matter where they live’. Thank you to everyone involved in this work over the past 20 years.

Communities continue to be at the centre of RDN’s service planning and impact evaluations. Our 35 years of experience suggests that the most effective and sustained health responses in remote and rural communities occur when there is a dedicated local action plan. We are thankful to be invited by communities to work in partnership with them to create tangible solutions to healthcare access challenges, and we will continue to build approaches that encourage action plans in partnership with local government.

It is also a privilege to be entrusted by government, philanthropic benefactors and corporate
partners with funds and resources to help create change. We take this responsibility seriously and accept public accountability, and we commit to values-based and evidence-based practice and the highest levels of corporate governance so that we fulfil our social contract.

I never tire of positive stories which highlight the strength of rural Australia. RDN has participated in recruiting and placing close to half of the GP population in rural and remote
areas of NSW, with 1,500 of these GPs coming from 60 different countries. Many are now permanently settled into their new communities, thanks to the efforts of local people to make these GPs and their families feel welcome and wanted.

I offer my sincere thanks to A/Prof John Kramer OAM for his strong leadership and knowledge throughout his tenure as our Chair, guiding us through bushfires, floods, COVID-19 and significant political environments, both federal and state. He always retains the aim of supporting better health access in rural communities, building the capability and wellbeing of
rural health professionals and supporting our staff.

I also thank our Board, staff and broader RDN network for your unwavering willingness to embrace challenges, collaborate, adapt, evolve, innovate and create, so that RDN can continue to improve equity in healthcare and social care services for all Australians. You are the people who embody the underpinning postivity of rural Australia.

Richard Colbran PhD
Chief Executive Officer

RDN Annual Report


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