Improving access and attendance to allied health services in rural and remote NSW through collaborating partnerships

Alycia Young1, Laura Gillan2

1Rural Fit, 7-9 Jack Smyth Drive, NSW, 2340, Alycia.Young@ruralfit.com.au
2Rural Fit, 7-9 Jack Smyth Drive, NSW, 2340, Laura.Gillan@ruralfit.com.au

Rural Fit is a multidisciplinary private allied health business with a central hub in Tamworth, NSW. Rural Fit was started in 2011 with the vision of giving people a greater freedom of movement in rural and remote communities. Our multidisciplinary approach to health intervention allows us to use a client centred approach into improving their quality of life and allowing the freedom of choice.

Rural Fit has adapted the outreach model of healthcare and has embarked on expanding its services and developing satellite clinics in rural and remote NSW. Clients have repeatedly reported that cost, poor access, and limited education and awareness are the barriers to accessing allied health services. To improve the sustainability of our ‘hub and spoke’ model of care we have systemised our marketing strategy to building quality relationships and increasing education with rural doctors and practice managers, other allied health practitioners, as well as involving our team in community projects and health promotion programs.

Our model involves our practitioners travelling to remote locations, expansion of Rural Fit sites in smaller communities, the innovative use of a telehealth portal, and maintaining positive relationships with universities to increase student placements into these communities with our Rural Fit team. Our vision is to increase our services further within this model and increase the utilisation of the telehealth services to continue overcoming barriers and to allow greater access and attendance to allied health services in rural and remote communities.

Biography

Alycia and Laura were both born in small country towns in rural NSW. They moved away to the city to gain qualifications and education in their respective professions of physiotherapy and exercise physiology. They have a passion for rural health and both decided to relocate back to their home region to help provide quality health services to the area. Alycia has an interest in functional strength training and indigenous health promotion. Laura has an interest in rehabilitation and maintaining a healthy lifestyle through fitness.