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Rural Health Outreach Fund enhances service delivery to patients

RWAV would like to acknowledge the collaborative work between the Rural Health Outreach Fund (RHOF) service providers and host locations, which enabled 1,835 outreach visits across Victoria, who, in turn, provided 37,828 occasions of services (see Figure 1) between July 2017 to April 2018. Of these occasions of service, 664 patients were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.










Figure 2 illustrates the breakdown in how RHOF was allocated in three Victorian regions: Murray, Western Victoria and Gippsland. This allocation shows the total visits and patients seen (and of those, how many identified as being Indigenous). This map helps to gauge the number of services being utilised, as well as who is using them.

map of VicOutreach Rural Health program











Despite challenges associated with distance and the capacity to provide outreach services, the number of specialists contracted under RHOF reached 202 services across the state in the past year. Graph 1 identifies the count of services across the state contracted per specialty. While this is not indicative of unique service providers, the data provides an outline of the specialty areas funded within the RHOF program in Victoria.

client services across Victoria per specialty










The RHOF program has been operating for several years. As part of RWAV’s continuous improvement processes, the program was evaluated this year and will be reviewed over the next year. The evaluation will assess:

  • equitable access to services
  • service provision meeting the needs of the communities
  • services aligning with current workforce needs
  • better utilisation of the funds allocated to Victoria to meet the growing health demands; and,
  • the degree to which key stakeholders and community groups are engaged throughout the program.

RWAV will be transitioning from a single service-driven approach, to a community partnership model. In the community partnership model, outreach services will be developed in collaboration with communities, health services and primary care settings, rather than a focus on a single service provider. The aim is to improve the integration of service delivery, which in turn will have better healthcare outcomes for the community.

For further information regarding RHOF service delivery, contact the VicOutreach team at vicoutreach@rwav.com.au.

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