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National Rural Health Alliance welcomes black spot announcement

The National Rural Health Alliance, Australia’s umbrella rural health organisation whose 37 members deliver services to more than 7 million Australians, today welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement it was taking further action to eradicate mobile phone and digital black spots across the country.

The Alliance strongly supported today’s announcement by the Minister for Regional Services, Senator Bridget McKenzie, calling for further nominations to reduce black spots in regional Australia, as the next step in providing improved connectivity between remote and regional communities and the delivery of digital health services to these areas.

Alliance CEO, Mark Diamond, said the delivery of health services to rural and remote towns and communities largely depended on a fully connected digital network that could provide the vital interface between consumers and health care providers.

“Without a properly connected and cohesive network, the delivery of health services will remain piecemeal and deprive people and families in the bush of access to today’s modern health care services,” Mr Diamond said.

“Our member organisations are out there every day delivering these health services - improvements in the delivery of digital health services are vital. Rural communities and the health workforce need the infrastructure that large towns and cities have.

“The Commonwealth’s Black Spot Program is the only program we have to make sure that the most isolated communities can benefit from technological advances in biometric monitoring, tele-rehabilitation and telehealth services to supplement face to face access to healthcare in the bush.” On 10 June 2018, the Australian Government announced it will invest $25 million of Mobile Black Spot Program funding towards a fourth round, to deliver improved mobile coverage to more regional and remote communities across Australia.

Above: Known mobile black spots (source)

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