Delivering health care in difficult locations; How does the Australian model translate Internationally?

Michael Jenkins


Australia is famous for its outback, remote areas where the delivery of healthcare faces many obstacles. To deal with these obstacles, health services in Australia have had to develop unique strategies to deliver care. Famous examples—such as the Royal Doctor Service—where technology allowed those distances to be reduced come to mind. But these services were never going to meet the needs of most people living in difficult locations. Starting in the 1980s, groups of health care practitioners began to coordinate how to provide consistent, remote health care. CARPA (Central Australian Remote Health Practitioners Association) and CRANA (Council of Remote Area Nurses Association) began to develop approaches to support practitioners working in these difficult locations, and the protocols, procedures and training for remote practitioners we see today sprang from these efforts. Around the world, other health practitioners work in difficult locations (difficult due to remoteness, lack of resources, conflict or combinations of these factors). What relevance does the Australian experience have for these practitioners and how can this experience translate and transfer to other locations?