There are many benefits to living and working in rural and remote NSW. But to maintain good health, and to have access to health services when needed, it's important to know what is available.
About 1 in 4 people in NSW live outside major cities. Rural NSW is diverse, ranging from regional centres to coastal cities, from country towns to remote communities. Smaller rural towns often have fewer services than regional centres, and remote regions have even fewer.
What types of health services are available?
Although there might be fewer health services in rural and remote NSW, help is available when you need it. To begin, you can often find information at community facilities, or by asking local people. You can also look online to locate hospitals, health services and programs specific to your local rural and regional health district, which is an important source of information and services.
Age-specific health services and support are also available throughout NSW.
Some of these services might not be available in your area, so you may need to travel or use online support:
- integrated health and aged care services
- disability and chronic health conditions
- support for people who are caring for someone
- health services for young people
- child health services
Telehealth uses video and audio technology to connect rural health services with specialists and major hospitals — this can reduce the need for travel. The Royal Flying Doctor Service provides emergency evacuations and comprehensive primary healthcare services across NSW.
Technology is also used to keep a secure online record of health information, which can benefit people living in rural and remote areas. My Health Record helps improve communication with and between your doctor, health services, specialists and hospitals.
Mental health and wellbeing
Although reaching out to others can be difficult, it is important to know where to turn if you are feeling isolated, or need support to manage an existing mental health condition.
Helplines have become a lifeline for many people, because they link them to an understanding ear or professional care.
In addition to helplines, there is a wide range of online resources and tools available, as well as apps to download.
Farming and mining communities
Living and working in rural and remote areas involves certain risks. Accidents are common in farming communities, both for workers and children. With some planning, you can improve safety for yourself and others.
Working in mining is particularly high risk, so it is important to look after your health and safety if you work in this area.
Travelling to health services
Living in rural and remote NSW might mean having to travel further for health services, especially specialist services. This can be costly and stressful, but you might be eligible for support through the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS).
If you are travelling with a seriously ill child, organisations such as Ronald McDonald House can help with accommodation.
In addition to providing links to health services, NSW Health has online information on healthy living and links to support services.
Increasingly, people are using the internet when searching for health services. It is important to use reputable sources, such as healthdirect's service finder.
healthdirect also provides free 24-hour health advice for assistance in cases that are not urgent: call 1800 022 222 to speak with a registered nurse.
- In a medical emergency, immediately dial triple zero (000).
- Other contacts for emergency help and non-urgent assistance, can be found here.
To find health services in NSW
- aged care services
- help for carers
- NSW hospitals
- general health
- dental health
- sexual health
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical and health services
- rural parenting
- drugs and alcohol
- flood and storm recovery
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: March 2021