There are many lifestyle benefits to living in rural and remote Australia, but it can be challenging as some services aren't as readily available as in the city. Being familiar with health services in your area and other online support will help you prepare for when they are needed.
Living in a regional or remote area means you are probably more aware of planning for your future health needs, even if you are in good health now. You might consider reviewing your health insurance and ambulance cover so that you are confident they meet your current and future needs.
Health clinics and doctors
You might want to familiarise yourself with nearby doctors and health services, especially if you are new to the area. Getting a good family doctor is important.
In some remote regions, fly-in/fly-out health clinics are available, such as Royal Flying Doctor Service doctors, nurses and other health professionals.
Making a contact list of emergency and health services and keeping it handy will help you in times of need.
Finding services and online support
Sometimes support over the phone and internet can be helpful. When searching on 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 non-urgent assistance: call 1800 022 222 to speak with a registered nurse.
eHealth and telehealth services also make it easier for people in rural and remote areas to contact health professionals.
eHealth uses technology to keep a secure online record of your health information. My Health Record helps improve communication with and between your doctor, health services, specialists and hospitals.
Telehealth involves remote consultations with health practitioners, often using video conferencing. Doctors and nurses can also use satellite and mobile phones, email and fax. Medicare rebates are available for telehealth consultations if you live in a rural, regional or remote area.
Attending hospital and health services in the city
Sometimes people in rural and remote locations need to travel to attend hospitals and to receive specialist services. This can be stressful but support is available.
- You might be eligible for assistance through the Royal Flying Doctor Service's patient transfers. Angel Flight also provides some non-emergency flights.
- Patient Assisted Travel Schemes offer support for people who meet eligibility requirements.
- When traveling to city hospitals with a child, organisations such as Ronald McDonald House might help with accommodation.
- In some regional and capital cities, the Country Women's Association provides affordable accommodation for country people.
To find the best options for you, ask your local health centre, hospital pre-admission staff or search online.
There are often fewer in-person mental health services in rural and remote areas, but help is available through:
- helplines and online chat services
- online communities
- apps and online programs
Online therapy (eTherapy) is psychological support, information, therapy and other help that is provided online or on your mobile device. It can be great for some people, but does not suit others.
Health and support services
There is a wealth of reputable and reliable information available online on specific areas of health and wellbeing, such as:
- rural and remote health
- healthcare professionals
- drugs and alcohol
- support for carers
- family and child health services
- aged care
- dental care
- sexual health
- disability services
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical/health services
- flood and storm recovery.
For services in your state:
- In a medical emergency, immediately dial triple zero (000).
- The Royal Flying Doctor Service provides 24-hour emergency medical flights in many regions.
- In some parts of rural and remote Australia you might be closest to a nursing post.
- For non-emergencies, help can be found online and by phone if you need help now.
Last reviewed: April 2017