Healthy Communities

Integrated care in every community
Integrated care in every community


Doctor shortages in rural and remote Australia are only one part of a larger challenge around the development of the future rural and remote medical and health workforce. Traditional approaches to healthcare are fragmented because of a lack of practical education and training of professionals in people-centred team-based care in community primary health settings. In rural and remote communities, team-based care is the norm reflecting the practical need for professionals to work together collaboratively, and at the extent of their scope of practice, to ensure residents get the health care they need.

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The New England Centre for Integrated People-Centred Health and Medical Training is an initiative of the Foundation to create a new community-based education and training facility that supports expanded community access to healthcare in the New England region, while providing future rural and regional health and medical practitioners with the skills and experience of working as part of a health care team focussed on the needs of people.

It is widely recognised that primary health care remains the most effective approach to reducing the burden of disease in our communities, and the cost of avoidable hospitalisations. Yet, little work has been done outside the hospital system to model the types of processes and cultures needed in community primary health centres, or the communication and behaviours required by practitioners, to create a seamless health experience for their patients and communities.

The Foundation is seeking funding from the Commonwealth and NSW governments for a community-led, rurally based network centre that will have a number of functions:

1. Design and implement a team based health care approach that if focussed on people in community and clinical settings which demonstrates the approaches and technologies needed to build functioning people-centred, integrated primary health care teams.

2. Expand access to virtual clinical supervision for doctors, nurses and allied health students and graduates to build the local health workforce for rural and regional towns.

3. Build a practice network that links small vulnerable rural and remote towns to a central practice in Armidale increasing the capacity of small financially vulnerable practices to share of resources and costs.

4. Create a competency based program that uses the practice network of regional and rural practices to provide Australian and international medical graduates with a wide variety of opportunities for exposure to the types of issues that will be asked to address in rural and regional communities.

5.Help multiple towns to overcome the professional isolation experienced by many practitioners in rural and remote practice by linking them to a Centre that supports them as members of a single team.



Croydon Dowley

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