Parkes MP Mark Coulton supports safety training for remote nurses

SAFE AND SECURE: Assistant Minister for Health Dr David Gillespie, pictured with federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton, has announced funding for training to help nurses and health professionals working in remote communities improve their personal safety and security. Photo: Contributed.

SAFE AND SECURE: Assistant Minister for Health Dr David Gillespie, pictured with federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton, has announced funding for training to help nurses and health professionals working in remote communities improve their personal safety and security. Photo: Contributed.

Dubbo nurses and health professionals who offer their services in remote communities will be able to take part in training that could keep them safe and secure.

The Council of Remote Area Nurses of Australia (CRANAplus) is developing its Remote Health Workforce Safety Training Project with $250,000 from the federal government.

Assistant Minister for Health Dr David Gillespie announced the funding this month.

It follows the awarding in 2016 of $240,000 to CRANAplus for resources to “help address risks and protect safety and security”.

The funding was in response to the murder of a nurse in a remote Aboriginal community in the north-west of South Australia.

Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the federal government was building on the 2016 grant with a “further $250,000 for CRANAplus to develop specifically-tailored training to help remote area health professionals identify and respond to potential or actual episodes of aggression”.

“Safety and security of the remote health workforce is an important priority,” he said.

Mr Coulton’s office has revealed that CRANAplus will develop a curriculum and then move to “pilot activity” in the form of workshops.

Minister Gillespie has acknowledged the importance of the remote health workforce and the difficulties under which it operates.

“The remote health workforce is a small but essential part of Australia’s health system, delivering world-class frontline care to the 2.3 per cent of the population who live in remote or very remote areas,” he said.

“Our nurses, midwives, doctors, dentists and allied health professionals provide care for sparse populations over vast distances, with isolation, poor infrastructure, and difficult climates the norm.”

The 2017 grant takes the federal government’s funding to $12.6 million over three years to 2018 for CRANAplus to deliver training and professional support to health workers in remote areas.

CRANAplus is the peak professional body for the remote and isolated health workforce of Australia.

It was born out of a 1982 meeting in Alice Springs of 130 remote area nurses who “put remote health issues on the national health agenda”.

The core business of CRANAplus is to “educate, support and represent all health professionals working in the remote sector of Australia”.

CRANAplus support services include the Bush Services Support Line, which the federal government regards as “critical”.

The free, 24/7 confidential telephone support service for remote health professionals and their families was first established in 1997.  It is reported to overcome the tyranny of distance.