The University of South Australia’s Department of Rural Health is undertaking one of the biggest health surveys ever in country South Australia in a bid to improve the health services available in these areas.
More than 162,000 households have been sent a postcard from the survey team - or will be sent one later this month - inviting them to take part in the survey.
Researcher Dr Matthew Leach, who himself grew up in regional SA, urges residents living in rural, remote and regional areas to take part in the survey.
“Having grown up in regional SA, and having friends and family living in regional centres, I am well aware of the struggles facing people living in these regions,” Dr Leach said.
“Every Australian has the right to access quality health care services. However, for people living in rural, remote and regional South Australia, timely access to the services that they need and/or desire may not always be possible because of distance, transportation issues and service availability.
“This means that many of the 380,000 people living in regional SA may have unmet health care needs.
“By participating in this survey, regional residents can tell us what their health care needs actually are, which will in turn identify areas for improvement.”
The survey is open to all adults living in rural, remote and regional South Australia who have used any health care service or received any health intervention (including self-prescribed treatments) within the past 12 months. Rural Health will not only share the findings of the study with local communities, but will also engage with these communities to assist in the development of strategies that may help to address health care needs.
“Some strategies that may result could be improved transport services for people needing to attend medical appointments or innovative ways to attract and retain health professionals and services,” Dr Leach said.
“We can only do this if we have enough data.”