RDN is a not-for-profit, non-government charitable organisation that provides solutions to support the multidisciplinary rural health workforce. Our vision is for improved health service access for all Australians - no matter where they live.
We seek to support better health and wellbeing for people living in remote, rural, regional, Aboriginal and disadvantaged communities, particularly those in NSW and the ACT. To achieve this vision, we seek to grow and strengthen a capable primary health workforce, support communities with tailored health workforce solutions, support the capacity of health service organisations, contribute to policy and ensure RDN’s continued effectiveness.
We work collaboratively with health professionals, communities, service agencies, industry and both Federal and State governments. We are privileged to act as the Australian Government's designated Rural Workforce Agency for health in NSW; and the NSW fundholder for Rural Health Outreach and associated service programs.
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 2018, RDN celebrated 30 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.
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.
RDN offers a range of services, programs and activities across NSW that:
- help remote, rural and regional communities, general practices and health services to find suitably skilled and qualified General Practitioners (GPs), nurses and allied health professionals to work in their towns
- assist suitably skilled and qualified GPs, nurses and allied health professionals to pursue careers in remote, rural and regional NSW (this includes both Australian and International Medical Graduates/Overseas Trained Doctors)
- support existing remote, rural and regional doctors, nurses and allied health professionals through the provision of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities and succession planning
- provide financial support for further study, training and short courses
- assist in finding locum support for remote, rural and regional GPs through our unique and free Locum Match service
- deliver a wide range of health outreach services to remote and rural towns
- support remote, rural and regional medical partners and families
- provide a range of scholarships, support and information for students studying medicine or health-related degrees in NSW.
RDN also works with:
- Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) to support health services for Aboriginal peoples
- 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
- university medical faculties to promote rural medicine.
The framework through which RDN operates is a Board of Directors headed by an elected Chair and Deputy Chair who are both in rural general practice. The Board is responsible for setting the strategic direction for RDN, for developing policy and planning priorities, and for ensuring that RDN meets its contractual agreements and obligations.
The RDN Board comprises individuals nominated by RDN members (two), Rural Doctors Association (RDA) NSW, Australian Medical Association (AMA) NSW, Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC), Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP - NSW Faculty) and the NSW Ministry of Health (MoH) (two).
The Board of Directors is responsible for determining the overall policy and priorities of the organisation, and for ensuring that RDN meets funding agreements and contractual obligations.
The 2022 RDN Board (appointed at the November 2021 Annual General Meeting) is:
- Chair: A/Prof John Kramer OAM – Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (NSW Faculty)
- Deputy Chair: Dr Thomas Douch – Board Appointed Director
- Treasurer: Dr Lauren Cone – Elected GP
- Dr Costa Boyages – Australian Medical Association (NSW)
- Dr Ros Bullock – Elected GP
- Dr John Curnow – NSW Rural Doctors Association of Australia
- Ms Jill Ludford – NSW Ministry of Health
- Mr Phillip Naden – Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW
- Dr Peter O’Mara – Board Appointed Director
- Dr Timothy Smart – NSW Ministry of Health
Dave Karlson is Company Secretary appointed by the RDN Board.
RDN Chair: A/Professor John Kramer OAM
A/Professor John Kramer OAM was appointed Chair of RDN's Board of Directors at the November 2020 AGM.
A/Prof John Kramer started in General Practice in Woolgoolga in 1981 as a solo GP and now heads a team of eight doctors. In some cases, he has cared for four generations within the one family, which he considers a privilege and pleasure. Teaching medical students and trainee GPs has been an integral part of the practice from the early 1990s, and since 2002 John has also taught at the UNSW Rural Medical School in Coffs Harbour. That long involvement led to the honour of being created an Adjunct Associate Professor in 2016. John's main clinical interests are learning and behavioural difficulties in children, medical education, Indigenous health and palliative care. In 2017, John was awarded an OAM for his services to medicine as a general practitioner in regional areas.
The 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 the NSW Ministry of Health. Local governments, community and health sector organisations also contribute funding for RDN activities.