New study looks to improve SA regional health

Farmer on a quad bike rounding up cattleThe University of South Australia’s (UniSA) Department of Rural Health is currently undertaking one of the largest health surveys ever to be carried out in regional South Australia, in a bid to improve the health services available in these areas.

More than 162,000 households across South Australia have just been sent a postcard from the survey team - or will be sent one later this month - inviting them to take part in the survey.

Lead researcher, Dr Matthew Leach who himself grew up in regional South Australia, urges all residents living in rural, remote and regional South Australia to take part in the survey.

“Having grown up in regional South Australia, and having friends and family living in regional centers across the State, I am well aware of the struggles facing people living in these regions,” Dr Leach says.

“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.

The UniSA Department of 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 the health care needs of people living in these regions.

“Some strategies that may result could be improved transport services for people needing to attend medical appointments; or innovative ways to attract and retain much needed health professionals and services to the region,” Dr Leach says.

“We can only do this though, if we have enough data on these communities, so the first step is for regional residents to get online and fill out the survey.”

The survey can be accessed here (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CONVERSATIONS-SA).

For those regional residents who do not have internet access, a paper copy of the regional health survey can be requested by calling 1800 905 825.

 

Contact for interview:  Dr Matthew Leach office 0466 434 881 email matthew.leach@unisa.edu.au
Media contact: Michèle Nardelli office (08) 8302 0966  mobile: 0418 823 673

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