RURAL & REMOTE MEDICAL SERVICES PROGRAM
The RARMS Program was the first program established by the Foundation when it was created in 2001 as a charity by rural doctors committed to helping rural people achieve local outcomes. After 21 years of operation, the RARMS Program was discontinued in 2022 following significant declines in medical workforce in rural and remote NSW, and changes in State Government policy and a discontinuation of support for integrated delivery of 24/7 on-site GP/VMO services in rural and remote towns.
The RARMS Program supported vulnerable rural and remote communities that were at risk of losing local health and medical services by providing expertise in practice management and workforce recruitment and retention.
The Foundation pioneered the successful implementation, operation and development of the 'Walk-In, Walk-Out' model of primary health care delivery in vulnerable communities in Australia. Our 20 years of successful experience in the on-the-ground delivery of health and medical services in rural and remote communities has been invaluable to numerous other communities seeking solutions to local workforce shortages and service sustainability.
Extensive independent research has shown that the RARMS Program is the most sustainable typology of rural and remote health service delivery in Australia.
The key point of difference of the Foundation's approach is that we are based in rural and remote communities allowing us to work with local people to co-design solutions that work and share the experience of local people.
Too often we see rural and remote programs designed and delivered from people based in capital cities that do not have skin-in-the-game. Not only does this rip many jobs and significant income out of rural and remote towns, it means that providers only have a theoretical understanding of rural and remote need which can lead to poorly designed programs that are not sustainable long-term.
The RARMS Program outcomes include:
building local community capacity and health literacy;
helping local community health services to be sustainable through the provision of expertise and succession planning;
stregthening continuity of primary health care and hospital VMO services;
keeping money and economic activity in rural and remote towns experiencing economic challenges due to the centralisation of health and medical services;
expanding the number of well-paying medical, nursing, allied health and practice management jobs in rural and remote towns;
facilitating a shared purchasing framework that reduces the higher cost of running health and medical services in rural and remote towns;
supporting local public health and preventative programs to address social determinants;
sustaining capacity to deal with emergencies, for example during COVID;
helping communities to attract and retain local businesses and population.
The Foundation has 20 years of practice and on-the-ground experience working with rural and remote communities to deliver a proven and successful model of sustainable rural and remote primary health care and hospital services.
The Foundation has replaced the RARMS Program with the RAPS Program and is continuing its work with local councils, community organisations and governments in many States and Territories to support them to build sustainable primary health care and local hospital services in vulnerable communities, and assist with the establishment of appropriate governance and management structures to ensure the ongoing supply of regular and continuous health and hospital services in rural and remote Australia.
MEDICAL SERVICES SAVED
PEOPLE WHO RECEIVED LOCAL MEDICAL CARE WHO WOULD HAVE MISSED OUT
NUMBER OF TREATMENTS & REFERRALS DELIVERED TO VULNERABLE PEOPLE OVER 20 YEARS
MONEY SPENT IN RURAL & REMOTE TOWNS
WELL-PAYING JOBS CREATED IN RURAL & REMOTE TOWNS