About NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN)
NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN) exists to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in remote, rural, regional, Aboriginal and disadvantaged communities, particularly those in New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). We are a not-for-profit, non-government charitable organisation that works to create and sustain access to quality multidisciplinary healthcare for all Australians – no matter where they live.
By working collaboratively with health professionals, communities, service agencies, industry and federal, state and local governments, we seek to grow and strengthen a capable primary health workforce and support the capacity of health service organisations by contributing to rural health policy development.
We are privileged to act as the Australian Government’s designated Rural Workforce Agency for health in NSW, and as the NSW and ACT fundholder for health Outreach and associated service programs. Throughout our 35 years of existence, we have worked closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, continually striving for engagement and reconciliation.
RDN Governance and Funding:
The framework through which NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN) operates is a Board of Directors. The RDN Executive team is responsible for implementing the policy and priorities of the organisation as determined by the Board of Directors.
RDN is a public company limited by guarantee under the Australian Corporations Act 2001. Download the RDN Constitution 2020.
RDN receives program funding from the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care and the NSW Ministry of Health. Local governments, community and health sector organisations also contribute funding for RDN activities.
To help build and sustain the rural health workforce, RDN delivers a range of services including:
- Health workforce recruitment, rural orientation, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and retention programs.
- Administration of rural health Outreach services in NSW.
- Future workforce training pathway and rural immersion programs.
- Workforce career management support, scholarships and grants.
- Practice and health facility management and leadership support including finding locum support.
- Regional workforce and stakeholder coordination, town-based workforce planning.
- Collation and dissemination of rural health workforce data.
RDN also works with:
- Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) to support health services for indigenous Australians.
- Rural NSW Primary Health Networks (PHNs) to support remote, rural and regional GPs and the health workforce.
- Local communities, governments and rural Local Health Districts (LHDs) on workforce matters.
Universities and Rural Health Clubs to promote rural health careers
History of RDN
RDN began in 1988 as an organisation supporting the recruitment and retention of rural general practitioners (GPs). The organisation has evolved in response to the changing health landscape and there is now a greater need for solutions that support the broader multidisciplinary rural health workforce including GPs, rural resident and non-resident medical specialists, allied health practitioners, nurses, midwives, Aboriginal Health Practitioners and professionals, practice managers, carers and health administrators.
RDN also works closely with paramedics, pharmacists, oral health professionals and professionals working in other human services such as schools, aged care, disability and community services.
In 2023, RDN celebrated 35 years of serving rural communities. As a multidimensional and solution-oriented organisation, our work adapts and responds to contemporary issues and needs using evidence-informed approaches. We are acutely aware of the direct and indirect impacts of Federal and State policy, changing population distribution, climate change, digital technologies, business governance and legislative requirements, health workforce demographics and life-balance expectations.
Today, RDN’s service streams navigate these and related issues to develop and provide workforce and practice support; sustainable practice business models; health Outreach services; grants and scholarship initiatives; education and training; future workforce programs; health policy and industry network coordination; and health workforce data and evidence translation.
RDN's Vision, purpose, goals, values and beliefs
- Healthier Australians – no matter where they live.
- To improve health access for people living in remote, rural, regional, Aboriginal and disadvantaged communities in NSW and the ACT.
- Goal 1: Build and sustain a health workforce capable of delivering quality and safe care in remote, rural, regional, Aboriginal and disadvantaged communities.
- Goal 2: Respond to the individual health workforce needs of communities.
- Goal 3: Contribute to effective rural health policy and evidence-based service delivery methodology.
- Goal 4: Continue the pursuit of organisational excellence.
We use our organisational values to guide our decision-making, actions and workplace behaviours.
- Accountability – We commit to being responsible for our actions.
- Adaptability – We are agile and responsive to changing needs to create solutions and make a positive difference for our stakeholders.
- Collaboration – We share and contribute to collective processes to create more effective practice and achieve specific goals and outcomes.
- Excellence – We strive to achieve and maintain high quality standards in our relationships and services.
- Integrity – We live and work by a set of ethical standards and behaviours.
- We believe that the health and wellbeing of remote and rural communities is fundamental to Australia’s prosperity and long-term future.
- We believe the pursuit of equity in health care access is a fundamental human right and building block to achieving better health in rural and vulnerable communities.
- We believe in Aboriginal self-determination, acknowledging the ongoing impact of colonisation on Aboriginal people, and the importance of health service provision in culturally safe environments.
- We believe in capability and that primary health professionals are at their most capable when they are supported to positively respond and contribute to life in rural communities.