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Western Australia rural and remote health services

With its vast rural and remote regions, living, working and travelling in Western Australia (WA) can be exciting. But when you need health services, you need to know how to access them, no matter where you are. Planning ahead will let you be prepared for when you need help.

A snapshot of Western Australia

WA covers about a third of Australia. Most people live in and around Perth and Fremantle, but with the state's emphasis on natural resources and farming, many others live in areas that are much more isolated.

What type of health services are available?

There are 9 large regional hospitals in WA and numerous country hospitals that offer a broad range of health services.

WA Country Health Service provides a range of services for people living in rural and remote areas. Some of these are delivered by multi-purpose services (combining hospitals and nursing posts) to meet local needs.

A nursing post (sometimes known as a 'health centre' or 'health service') is staffed by highly skilled nurses, who provide medical services and emergency care in remote areas.

Rural Health West provides a wide range of outreach health services throughout WA, including ear health and chronic disease services, as well as visiting optometrists. Rural Health West’s interactive map can help you locate health services in rural and remote communities.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service in WA also provides outreach services. As well as emergency medical flights, it provides telehealth, medical chests, flight nursing, dental services, and rural and remote general practice clinics.

Finding services and online support

Increasingly, people are using online sites when searching on the internet for health services. It is important to use reputable sources, such as healthdirect's service finder.

Healthdirect also provides a free 24-hour health advice service: call 1800 022 222 to speak with a registered nurse.

Health for all ages

Anyone's health needs can change over time so services are available for all ages and needs, including:

Mental health and wellbeing

The WA Government provides a range of mental health services and support. And there are helplines and online resources and tools available for when you feel isolated or need help with an existing mental health condition.

Living and working on farms

Farming can be hazardous, so it's important to take care of your safety. Children living in the country also need help to stay safe.

Working in mining

Mining - of whatever type - can be dangerous work. Both workers and community need to look after their safety around mining sites, and while fossicking and prospecting.

Aboriginal communities

Aboriginal community health services are located throughout WA. The WA Government and other organisations also provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services and programs.

Hospitals

Country hospitals are important but sometimes lack specialist health practitioners, so telehealth helps connect people to clinical outpatient services. Emergency telehealth links small hospitals with specialists in Perth via emergency videoconference calls.

Travelling to medical and health services

Emergency medical flights are available if someone is seriously ill or injured, and needs to be treated at a large hospital.

If you need to travel to a larger regional or city hospital for specialist care, you might be eligible for travel and accommodation support through the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme.

Social workers in hospitals can support you while in hospital, or provide referral to services after discharge.

If you are travelling with a child who requires medical services there are organisations such as Ronald McDonald House that can help.

Emergency assistance

Further information

Last reviewed: April 2017

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