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Queensland rural and remote health services

Queensland is a large and diverse state. While most of the population lives in large urban centres, many others are much more isolated in rural and remote areas. To maintain good health, or to access health services when needed, it's important to plan ahead and know what is available.

A snapshot of Queensland

Queensland’s terrain is very diverse: from a dry interior in the west to tropics in the north and the Torres Strait islands. Most of the state is considered rural to very remote. Smaller rural towns often have fewer services than regional centres, and remote regions have even fewer.

Queensland's population has the third-fastest rate of growth in Australia, while the state's main industries are farming, mining, fishing, and tourism.

What type of health services are available?

In regional, rural and remote Queensland, there is a mix of district, rural and community hospitals. Health services are also delivered by healthcare centres and through multi-purpose health services.

Rural and remote health services are supported by visiting medical officers and remote area nurses. Remote nurses work in small teams or independently to provide specialist services, including emergency care.

Outreach services are provided in some locations. The Royal Flying Doctor Service uses multidisciplinary teams to deliver a diverse range of primary health care services.

Telehealth and e-health

Queensland 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 a 24-hour medical consultation service in remote Queensland via telephone and radio transmission.

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.

Health advice online and over the phone

Online health information can be really helpful, but it’s important to use reputable sources. Look for a site with HON (Health On the Net Foundation) certification.

You can speak to a registered nurse over the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at:

  • 13 HEALTH for Queenslanders only (13 43 25 84)
  • healthdirect (1800 022 222).

Mental health and wellbeing

People living and working in rural and remote areas can sometimes experience greater pressures than those in regional and urban areas. These include loneliness and isolation, financial hardship, lack of employment opportunities and natural disasters. Sometimes, extra support is needed.

Services are also available if you need help with relationships and mental health.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

A broad range of health services specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in rural and remote parts of Queensland is available.

Farming and mining communities

Working in remote areas, whether on a large cattle station or a mine, can be dangerous and stressful. In addition to getting mental health support when it's needed, it’s important to take care of your safety. Children living in the country also need help to stay safe.

Travelling to medical and health services

Travelling to obtain health services can be stressful. If you need help finding support, speak with your local health service or the hospital before you go.

Queensland Ambulance Service provides both emergency and non-emergency medical transport services. They also assist with coordination of aeromedical services through the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

The Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme provides travel and accommodation assistance for eligible people. If you are traveling with a seriously ill child, organisations such as Ronald McDonald House might be able to help.

Emergency assistance

  • In a medical emergency, dial triple zero (000) immediately.
  • Some hospitals provide assistance through 24-hour emergency departments.

To find health services in Queensland

Further information

Last reviewed: May 2017

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