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New South Wales rural and remote health services

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 a quarter of 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 kinds 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.

Health for all ages

Age-specific health services and support are available throughout NSW. Some might not be available in your area, so you may need to travel or use online support:

Mental health

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 literally 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.

Rural life

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’s important to look after your health and safety if you work in this area.

Staying healthy

In addition to providing links to health services, NSW Health has online information on healthy living and links to support services.

Finding services and online support

Increasingly, people are using online sites when searching the internet 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.

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).

Further information

Emergency assistance

  • In a medical emergency, immediately dial triple zero (000)
  • For non-emergencies, help can be found online and by phone if you need help now

Last reviewed: April 2017

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