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New research identifies challenges and opportunities for rural primary care workforce

8th September 2022

NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN) has today released its annual Primary Health Workforce Needs Assessment (HWNA) Summary Report, providing valuable insight into the current state of the primary health workforce in remote, rural and regional NSW.   15380 RDN HWNA_2022_WEB_Page_01

This year's report - the fifth in the series - presents data on issues ranging from rural GP burnout and professional development priorities, to identifying emerging trends to be considered when developing responses to current rural health workforce challenges.  

Solutions are also discussed. 

"Accessing an appropriate and sustainable primary health care workforce is a challenge for many rural communities but one that also presents many opportunities," says RDN CEO Richard Colbran.   

"The evidence contained in this report is critical to designing effective responses to improve sustained access to primary health care, especially in these times of natural disaster and emergencies. We invite anyone involved in health workforce planning or with an interest in primary health care in rural locations to take a look," he said. 

Highlights from the 2021-22 Primary HWNA Summary Report: 

  • More allied health and nursing placements are required in GP practices to increase deliberate team-based care.  

  • Significant gaps in services were identified including mental health, oral health, drug and alcohol services and social support. 

  • Practice managers, GPs and patients reported patient transport as a significant health service need. 

  • New models of care, such as community paramedics and nurse-led clinics, should be considered to improve the sustainability of health care in rural areas. 

The 2021-22 Primary HWNA Summary Report is informed by the Rural GP Workforce Survey and the Rural Practice Manager Workforce Survey combined with input from stakeholders and advisory groups. The findings guide RDN’s development of health access models and approaches.  

Read the report

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