Australians living in rural and remote areas have a shorter life expectancy and poorer access to and use of health services compared with people living in metropolitan areas. Limited access to quality and timely health services is one of the fundamental causes of inequitable health outcomes between people living in major cities and rural and remote areas. In New South Wales, cardiovascular disease hospitalization rates in 2019/2020 were lower in major cities than they were in remote areas (1561.9 and 2578.8 per 100,000 population). Similarly, death rates from all causes (per 100,000 population) were higher in remote areas (681.3) and very remote areas (625.2) than in major cities (449.5). Emergency department presentations per 100,000 population were higher in outer regional and remote areas (64,409.7) compared to major cities (29,819.2). In rural and remote Australia, general practitioners (GPs) provide care across the continuum from primary to secondary care, often in Visiting Medical Officer (VMO) arrangements with a local hospital. However, little is known about the role of GP-VMOs in improving the perceived quality of care and health outcomes for rural and remote communities.
Theory of Change
Qualitative analysis of the value of the role of rural GP/VMOs in providing continuity of care to residents of rural and remote communities.
Long Term Outcomes
Contribution to knowledge base about solutions to rural medical workforce shortages in Australia.
Policy changes resulting from research findings
8 December 2023
Sutarsa, I.N.; Kasim, R.; Steward, B.; Bain-Donohue, S.; Slimings, C.; Hall Dykgraaf, S.; Barnard, A. Do General Practitioners in a Visiting Medical Officer Arrangement Improve the Perceived Quality of Care of Rural and Remote Patients? A Qualitative Study in Australia. Healthcare
2022, 10, 1045. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10061045