Abstract: Many Australians living in rural and remote areas of Australia need to travel hundreds of kilometres for health care service, or to wait for health service providers, such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), to visit them. The levels of acute and subacute hospital services in rural and remote areas are reported to be inadequate, as is, to a lesser extent, access to aged care services. The need to travel long distances is a major barrier for people in remote locations, particularly older people, seeking health care. National data on health care for older Australians are available, but we do not have a clear picture of the specific problems of older people living in rural and remote areas who require aeromedical retrieval for treatment. We therefore briefly describe in this report the health characteristics of older Australians who have been retrieved at least once by the RFDS and the primary health care services accessible to them within 60 minutes by road. We undertook a cross-sectional review of prospectively collected routine patient data for older Australians (Indigenous patients aged 55 years or more; non-Indigenous patients aged 65 years or more) retrieved by the RFDS from anywhere in Australia between 1 July 2014 and 31 June 2017. To assess population health service coverage, we entered the locations of available health services (source: Health Direct; https://about.healthdirect.gov.au) into the RFDS Service Planning and Operational Tool (SPOT), and then overlaid 2016 census data provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Gardiner, Fergus W., Richardson, Alice M., Bishop, Lara, Harwood, Abby, Gardiner, Elli, Gale, Lauren, Teoh, Narcissus, Lucas, Robyn M., Laverty, Martin, 2019, Health care for older people in rural and remote Australia: challenges for service provision, Volume:211, Journal Article, viewed 05 December 2023, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=26539.