Australian rural women’s health roundtable

RANZCOG

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Updated
8 May 2023

Women in rural and remote Australia face unique challenges when accessing women’s health services. These challenges have an impact on the equitable delivery of healthcare for women and their families. To help address these barriers, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) hosted the first RANZCOG Australian rural women’s health roundtable on 2 May 2023.

More than 50 delegates representing College Members and trainees, midwifery groups, consumers, and key stakeholders from Commonwealth, state and territory governments, non-government organisations and other service providers who support rural, regional and remote women’s health collaboratively examined access to care outside Australia’s capital cities at the roundtable.

RANZCOG presented findings from its rural, regional and remote mapping project of women’s health services, as well as learnings from current training and education initiatives that have helped strengthen the rural and remote workforce, and current advocacy work that is aimed at addressing inequitable service delivery.

Panel discussions reflected on the challenges that women and maternal health and gynaecology service providers face in rural and regional areas, explored how access to maternal health and gynaecology services in rural and remote areas can be improved, and investigated how the health professionals that provide these services be best supported. Throughout the day delegates provided insights on, and possible solutions to, a variety of issues, including:

– Models of care
– Continuity of care
– Cultural responsiveness
– Training
– Education and upskilling
– Workforce maldistribution.
– Workforce shortages.
– Collaboration with midwifery and allied health peak bodies
– Service gaps
– Attracting and retaining health care workers to work in rural, regional, and remote areas.
– Support for health care workers and general infrastructure in rural, regional, and remote areas
– Access to contraceptive services
– Improving access for both early medical and surgical abortions
– Telehealth services

The discussions will help inform the direction of RANZCOG’s Rural Women’s Health Strategy. RANZCOG thanks all the delegates that attended the roundtable. The College continues to be committed to ensuring that women living and working in rural and remote Australia, like their counterparts in metropolitan centres, receive high-quality obstetric and gynaecological health care throughout pregnancy and their lives.

If you have any questions, please contact Cynthia Tapiwa, RANZCOG Project Lead – Women’s Health, Research and Policy on ctapiwa@ranzcog.edu.au.

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