LAST PLACE: While a third of Australians live outside big cities the spending on rural health research lags well behind.
LAST PLACE: While a third of Australians live outside big cities the spending on rural health research lags well behind. Thomas Northcut

Medicos call out lack of rural health spending

A MAJOR symposium of rural health researchers held in Canberra delivered a new report showing just how short of funds the sector is.

The report's lead author, Professor Lesley Barclay, said rural health research attracted just 1.1 per cent of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding from 2000 to 2014.

"That's despite a third of Australians living outside of cities,” she said.

"People living in rural and remote Australia have poorer health outcomes and less access to health services than their urban counterparts.

"Our article demonstrates that rural health research is critically underfunded.”

Around 250 health delegates attended the two day event with National Rural Health Alliance chief executive, Mark Diamond, backing up Professor Barclay.

"Interest in rural health research is growing because there are so many issues to be addressed,” he said.

"Rural people have higher mortality rates, higher rates of chronic disease, a higher incidence of smoking related illnesses and higher rates of suicide.

"But there's simply not enough funding to tackle that sobering reality.”



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