THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health and Regional Services Delivery
Member for Lingiari
3 August 2010
The Minister for Indigenous Health and Member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon, today announced a dental assistant from the Goldcoast who volunteered to work in Alice Springs became the 500th health professional to be placed in the Northern Territory as part of a federally funded program.
The Gillard Labor Government has funded the Remote Area Health Corps (RAHC) to engage doctors, nurses, dentists and other health professionals from Australian cities to do short-term placements in Indigenous communities and towns across the Northern Territory.
Warren Snowdon said the 500th placement was secured by twenty four year old dental assistant Kahlia Evans who decided to take a break from Robina in Queensland to work at the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress for six weeks.
“It’s great to have people from our cities coming out to experience life in a bush health setting and we hope that many can come back or indeed stay on for the long term.
“It’s terrific that we have reached this important milestone in just over 18 months. Remote Area Health Corps has successfully placed hundreds of health professionals in more than 73 clinics and Aboriginal Medical Services in remote NT communities – backed by funding from the Labor Government.
“GPs, registered nurses, dental and allied health professionals are being brought from the cities to the Territory to work in communities from as far away as Finke (Aputula) in Central Australia across to Kalkarindju, west of Katherine to Maningrida in Arnhem Land.
“Many people in remote communities and towns who used to miss out on healthcare now won’t because we’re making more health professionals available on a regular basis. Ultimately, that translates to better health outcomes for Indigenous Territorians in remote areas,” Warren Snowdon said.
The Remote Area Health Corps and other health professionals have helped deliver the following services to NT communities through the Northern Territory Emergency Response since July 2008:
o 7,938 dental services;
o 4,638 audiology services; and
o 3,072 ear, nose and throat services.
Warren Snowdon congratulated the Remote Area Health Corps for operating well above expectations in the placement of health professionals.
“I thank you for your terrific work. Health services are benefitting from a growing number of dedicated health professionals who are doing multiple placements through Remote Area Health Corps.”
The short-term placements are also positive for the health professionals involved.
The placements can be for three weeks up to three months –allowing them to maintain their personal and professional obligations at home while helping to close the health gap between Indigenous and other Australians.
A Gillard Labor Government is committed to improving health and hospital services across the country. It is only with a Gillard Labor Government that Northern Territory communities can be sure that they will continue to receive additional investments in hospital services.
As Health Minister, Tony Abbott cut $1 billion from public hospitals and has already made clear he will make more cuts to health and hospitals – he is too big a risk to our health system.
A Gillard Labor Government will combine record investment with the most significant reform to the health and hospitals system since the introduction of Medicare.
The Gillard Labor Government has funded the Remote Area Health Corps, as part of the Northern Territory Emergency response, investing more than $192.4 million over five years to improve access, expand and reform frontline healthcare services in Indigenous communities.
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