Growing opportunities in rural and remote health
Photo: Nikki Murray, Marathon Health Occupational Therapist, conducting a virtual equipment prescription
A recent report by the National Rural Health Commissioner has proposed ways to address rural health inadequacies through investment in local allied health services, training and opportunities.
As the largest non-government employer of allied health staff in Western NSW, Marathon Health welcomes the report, which aligns well with the not-for-profits student placement program that develops employment pathways for allied health graduates to live and work in rural NSW.
Jenief Cornish, Marathon Health Portfolio Manager of NDIS services, says the report is welcome news for local communities.
“We’ve found that students often forego opportunities for placements in rural and remote communities for a range of reasons usually related to distance. If students miss out on the opportunity to experience life and work in these areas, we miss the chance to show them the benefits of rural living,” Ms Cornish said.
Many rural communities are unable to host allied health students due to the lack of suitably-experienced allied health professionals needed to provide clinical supervision.
“The report acts as the first step to creating integrated services and training pathways locally, with a ‘grow your own’ system that retains people of rural origin,” Ms Cornish said.
Marathon Health’s innovative student placement program has grown significantly over the last two years, and even during the COVID-19 shut down period, six students completed fully virtual placements.
Samantha Smith based in Melbourne, completed a virtual Occupational Therapy placement with the charity in June.
“My placement has been, by far, the most well round and truly enriching experience. It has given me the opportunity and confidence to use my skills, enabling me to be excited about the future prospects in my career,” Ms Smith said.
The use of telehealth to train future clinicians has become embedded practice during COVID-19 and will continue in the future, according to Ms Cornish.
“We ensure our clinicians are able to supervise students via telehealth, so we can offer placements in remote communities and continue to grow the allied health services of country communities,” Ms Cornish said.
View the National Rural Health Commissioner’s full report here.
Marathon Health’s response to COVID-19
A message from our CEO
Thank you to our clients and stakeholders who have helped us navigate the COVID-19 period, and supported us as we transitioned services to phone and video consultations. We are watching the situation closely and staying informed via the Australian Government.
We are still maintaining physical distancing guidelines and working remotely, but will update clients and stakeholders as this changes.
What this means
- Our physical office locations are still temporarily closed; however, staff are working from virtual locations, and can still be reached via email or mobile during regular business hours
- Most of our services are available via phone and video consultations so you can access them from the comfort of your own home
- For those services where we are unable to offer phone/video consultations, our staff are ensuring regular contact and updates as to when these services can resume
For more general information about COVID-19, please visit credible sources such as health.gov.au
Thank you for your support during these uncertain times,
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