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New South Wales rural and remote health services

7-minute read

Key facts

  • Living in rural and remote areas means that getting access to health services can be more challenging.
  • It is important to be familiar with health services in your area, to know where to get help when you need it.
  • Age-specific health services and support are available throughout NSW.
  • Telehealth allows remote video and phone contact with health practitioners.
  • You may be eligible for travel and accommodation support for medical appointments.

Planning ahead

There are many benefits to living and working in rural and remote NSW. Unfortunately, access to health services may be harder than in the city. It's important to be aware of the health services available in your area so you are prepared if you or someone in your family need them.

Nearly 2 in every 5 people in NSW live in regional areas. 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. Remote regions have even fewer services.

What types of health services are available?

Although there are fewer health services in rural and remote NSW, help is available when you need it. You can often find information at community centres, or by asking local people. Look online to find hospitals, health services and programs specific to your local rural or regional health district.

Age-specific health services and support in NSW

Some services might not be available in your local area, so you may need to travel or use online support to access services including:

Finding services and online support

The internet is a great source of information when searching for health services. There are many different websites with information, but it is very important to use reliable sources, such as healthdirect's service finder. Get to know the online support options, so you can prepare for your future health needs.

You can call healthdirect for free 24-hour health advice for non-urgent care. Call 1800 022 222 to speak with a registered nurse.

If you are pregnant, or a parent of a young child and have a health question, the Pregnancy, Birth and Baby video call service allows you to speak face-to-face with a maternal child health nurse. Video call is a free service and is available from 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week (including public holidays).


Telehealth connects people in remote and rural areas with health professionals using video or phone. This can, in some situations, reduce your need to travel to an appointment.

My health record

My Health Record is a secure online summary of your health information. This improves communication between your doctor, health services, specialists and hospitals. This can help people living in rural and remote areas, as you may have several health providers in different locations. This digital summary allows your important health information to be stored in one place, which is easily accessible to health care professionals.

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 may also help with accommodation.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service, Careflight, and the NSW Newborn and paediatric Emergency Transport Services (NETS) provide emergency evacuations and important first line healthcare services across NSW.

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health

A range of health services for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people is available in rural and remote parts of NSW.

Mental health and wellbeing

While it can be difficult to reach out to others when your mental health is under strain, it is important to know where to turn. This is especially important if you are feeling isolated, or need support to manage a new or ongoing mental health condition.

Helplines will link you to professional care, and someone who will listen at any time. As well as helplines, there is a wide range of online resources and tools available, including apps that you can download.

The Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) is a program operated in partnership with each of the rural NSW Local Health Districts. They provide health promotion, educational activities and can connect you with appropriate services.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service provides prevention and rehabilitation services, related to alcohol and other drugs, to people who live in remote areas of New South Wales.

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 especially high risk, so it is important to look after your health and safety if you work in this area.

Staying healthy

NSW Health has online information on healthy living and links to support services.

Emergency assistance

In a medical emergency, immediately call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.

Further information

More information on a range of health conditions and services include:

Resources and support

To find health services specific to your needs, visit the following:

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: July 2023

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