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St John of God Health Care commits $2.55m to rural health

St John of God Health Care have announced their commitment of $2.55 million over five years to assist in addressing the health disadvantage experienced in rural Australia.

Research by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has shown that there are poorer health outcomes for rural Australians - a comparison of death rates between rural and metropolitan areas indicates that if metropolitan death rates are applied in rural areas there would be 3,300 fewer deaths nationally.

These poorer health outcomes and higher risk factors are further compounded by inadequate access to health services overall.

St John of God Health Care already has a strong rural presence through its hospitals in regional Victoria and WA, including its recent acquisition in Bendigo, Victoria, and with similar rural spread through Pathology services. In Western Australia, St John of God Health Care operates the State's only regional private hospitals in Geraldton and Bunbury.

This rural presence has brought with it an understanding of the health issues and the needs of those living in rural Australia as well as the difficulties in delivering services in regional areas.

"This understanding has led to a recognition that people living in rural areas of Australia experience marginalisation through poorer access to basic to health services and a poorer level of health status when compared to their metropolitan counterparts," said Dr Stanford.

Speaking at the AMA Rural Conference in York, National Chief Executive Officer for St John of God Health Care, Dr Michael Stanford said St John of God Health Care was willing to partner with rural doctors and all levels of government to improve access to private services in rural areas and we are prepared to consider innovative models to achieve that outcome.

"The focus on rural health as a priority is consistent with the heritage of St John of God Health Care, when the Sisters of St John of God came over 100 years ago to meet a need in the goldfields of WA," he said.

SJGHC's rural health strategy involves the development of viable and sustainable models of service to improve access to private health services in rural communities, particularly on those currently without access.

Advocacy for and on behalf of rural communities to focus attention and responses to the level of health disadvantage being experienced in rural Australia.

"For these reasons rural health is seen as a priority area for attention by the St John of God Health Care Group under its social outreach program."

St John of God Health Care commits $2.55m to Rural Health (St John of God Health Care 15/11/04)

St John of God Health Care
Another regional Catholic hospital changes hands (CathNews 3/11/04)
$3.5m announcement of Aboriginal Health Strategy (St John of God Health Care 20/10/04)
Social Justice Statement 2001 - A Just and Peaceful Land - Rural and Regional Australia
Priest says poverty increasing in rural and regional Australia (CathNews 21/10/04)
Jesuit study confirms postcode influence on social divide (CathNews 9/3/04)

16 Nov 2004