Healthy doctors practise better medicine: supporting the rural & remote health workforce now and into the future.

Mrs Inara Beecher1

1Country SA PHN, Nuriootpa, Australia


It is widely recognised that health professionals who are well balanced and healthy are able to provide higher quality patient care through enhanced empathy, and through being less likely to make mistakes due to stress and fatigue. Unfortunately, health professionals are often more diligent in caring for their patients than they are for themselves. In addition to optimising their health for personal wellbeing, health professionals also have a professional obligation to maintain their own health. Health professionals who are recognised to be particularly at risk of having difficulty accessing care are rural & remote GPs. It is vital for every GP to have their own GP, but can present issues when in a small and sometimes isolated community.

Doctors’ Health SA Ltd (DHSA) is a not-for-profit company established to improve the health of the medical profession for the good of the community. The Country SA PHN has supported the work of DHSA, through its Grant program, to connect and support general practitioners across rural & remote South Australia. DHSA is a comprehensive service that offers clinical services and education programs to support the medical profession across all stages of their careers. The end goal of DHSA activities is to make sure that doctors and students enjoy all of the benefits of on-going prevention, check-ups and GP care that includes providing access to the wider health system. The Country SA PHN Grant has created the opportunity for DHSA to pilot a telemedicine service for rural & remote doctors and medical students on rural & remote placement.

This paper will summarise the DHSA activities commissioned by Country SA PHN and the benefits provided to rural & remote GPs in SA. It will demonstrate how the service operates, the opportunities & challenges and discuss the pilot project utilising telemedicine for increasing service delivery.




With more than 20 years of health care experience, 16+ in Primary Health Care, including a large amount of time in rural SA settings and time spent working closely with Aboriginal communities.  Inara is a Registered Nurse with direct health care experience across primary and acute care.

Fellow of the Leaders Institute of SA, Governor’s Leadership Foundation (GLF) program 2011, Inara is also a Certified Health Informatician Australasia (CHIA), has been Heart Foundation Nurse Ambassador and previous mentor for the University of South Australia Immunisation course.  Inara is very passionate about achieving positive health outcomes for the people of SA.