Rural Health Commissioner office to be extended
The Australian Government has announced that the office of the National Rural Health Commissioner will be extended past its current expiry date of 30 June 2020. The move has been welcomed by the National Rural Health Alliance, the peak body for rural health in Australia.
“This is a good move from the Australian Government because the work of the National Rural Health Commissioner clearly isn’t over yet,” CEO Dr Gabrielle O’Kane said.
“There is still a great need to improve access and quality of services in rural, regional and remote Australia and to improve issues around the rural health workforce and education pathways.
“The office of the National Rural Health Commissioner has been doing important work since its establishment in 2017. It’s good news that work can continue and will be enhanced by the appointment of Deputy Commissioners.
“Now that COVID-19 has disrupted existing health policy and planning, there is now a need more than ever for continuity and to pick back up some of this important work.”
Dr O’Kane thanked outgoing Commissioner Emeritus Professor Paul Worley for his work since his appointment in 2017.
“Professor Worley has been a strong advocate for rural health and has worked hard to build relationships with the sector, including the Alliance and our member organisations.
“We look forward to working with the new Commissioner and hope that they will be able to build on Professor Worley’s work.”
The Commissioner’s role was established as part of the government’s agenda to reform rural health in Australia, and will provide policy advice to the minister responsible for rural health.
The Commissioner works with regional, rural and remote communities, the health sector, universities, specialist training colleges and across all levels of government to improve rural health policies and champion the cause of rural practice.
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