Health survey looks to improve Mid North health care

Just 68 people from across the Mid North have participated in a UniSA study that looks to improve health services to the region – despite invites being sent to 14,000 homes.

UniSA’s Department of Rural Health is currently undertaking one of the largest health surveys ever to be carried out in regional SA.

More than 162,000 households across SA have been sent a postcard from the survey team – including more than 14,000 homes across the Mid North – inviting them to take part in the survey.

The survey is open to all adults living in rural, remote and regional SA 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,” lead researcher Dr Matthew Leach said.

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

“Sadly, only 68 people from across the entire Mid North have completed the survey, with many of the smaller towns in the area having no representation at all.”

Dr Leach urged all residents living in rural, remote and regional SA to take part in the survey.

“Having grown up in regional SA, and having friends and family living in regional centres across the state, I am well aware of the struggles facing people living in these regions,” he said.

“Every Australian has the right to access quality health care services.

“However, for people living in rural, remote and regional SA, 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.”

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.