What Regional Development Investment is doing to help improve health services in regional Western Australia

Over $1 billion of Royalties for Regions funding has been invested into health service projects across regional Western Australia.

To understand what effect Royalties for Regions investment has had in regional Western Australia, the then Department of Regional Development undertook an evaluation.

The evaluation looked at a total of six cross-regional health programs and 10 single-region projects across five local government authorities. Some of the projects include:

  • Ambulance Services in Country WA ($26.1 million funding from RfR);
  • Regional Men’s Health Program ($2.8m);
  • Royal Flying Doctor Service ($32.9m);
  • Rural Generalist Pathways ($8.5m);
  • Derby Community Mental Health Refurbishment ($1.2m); and
  • North West

Over $1 billion of Royalties for Regions funding has been invested into health service projects across regional Western Australia.

To understand what effect Royalties for Regions investment has had in regional Western Australia, the then Department of Regional Development undertook an evaluation.

The evaluation looked at a total of six cross-regional health programs and 10 single-region projects across five local government authorities. Some of the projects include:

  • Ambulance Services in Country WA ($26.1 million funding from RfR);
  • Regional Men’s Health Program ($2.8m);
  • Royal Flying Doctor Service ($32.9m);
  • Rural Generalist Pathways ($8.5m);
  • Derby Community Mental Health Refurbishment ($1.2m); and
  • North West Drug and Alcohol Support Program in Derby/West Kimberley ($16.4m);

What is the evaluation focus?

The key evaluation question asked was "What difference to the local health service in regional WA has Royalties for Regions (RfR) made?"

The evaluation focused on what impact investment has had in local government authorities rather than on a project or program basis. As a result, the effect of investment looked at:

  • capabilities and skills;
  • improvements in health services;
  • sustainability of health services; and
  • meeting community needs.

What are the findings?

The evaluation found clear evidence that RfR funded health projects are improving health services in regional areas. This is demonstrated by enhancing existing services, appointing new staff, extensively upgrading hospitals and addressing workforce issues.

To find out more on how RfR has improved health in regional WA, click here. Alternatively, read about the Royalties for Regions funded projects below.

  • Ambulance Service in Country Western Australia

    over 3 years ago

    Ambulance services in the Kimberley have seen one of the most significant impacts after Royalties for Regions (RfR) funding. In Derby, ambulance services are now provided by the WA Country Health Service and staffed by the nurses and orderlies at the Derby Regional Hospital.

    RfR funding has provided training programs in local areas such as Kununurra; which was previously problematic, expensive and required lengths of time away from home.

    Funding also allowed for the purchase of additional practice mannequins which provides opportunities to combine new learnings, “Before RfR funding our ambulances were falling apart and the people who were expected to ride on them… Although they did an excellent job certainly they could have been trained a lot better.”

    Ambulance services in the Kimberley have seen one of the most significant impacts after Royalties for Regions (RfR) funding. In Derby, ambulance services are now provided by the WA Country Health Service and staffed by the nurses and orderlies at the Derby Regional Hospital.

    RfR funding has provided training programs in local areas such as Kununurra; which was previously problematic, expensive and required lengths of time away from home.

    Funding also allowed for the purchase of additional practice mannequins which provides opportunities to combine new learnings, “Before RfR funding our ambulances were falling apart and the people who were expected to ride on them… Although they did an excellent job certainly they could have been trained a lot better.”

  • Derby Community Mental Health Refurbishment Program

    over 3 years ago

    Royalties for Regions (RfR) funding was provided to update facilities in the old maternity board in the Derby Regional Hospital. This upgrade provided accommodation for those working in community mental health.

    There is significant acknowledgement that RfR is a driver in this change; “If we didn’t have (RfR funding) there wouldn’t be a clinic. It’s very simple.

    Royalties for Regions (RfR) funding was provided to update facilities in the old maternity board in the Derby Regional Hospital. This upgrade provided accommodation for those working in community mental health.

    There is significant acknowledgement that RfR is a driver in this change; “If we didn’t have (RfR funding) there wouldn’t be a clinic. It’s very simple.

  • Expansion of Dryandra Hostel Aged Care Facility

    over 3 years ago

    The Dryandra Hostel Aged Care Facility received $4.5 million of Royalties for Regions funding to assist in the construction of new facilities for the Hostel. The expansion of the Hostel specifically looked at constructing a new office and kitchen.

    In the future, this provides the Hostel with the opportunity of providing additional beds for dementia patients. It also allows for the attraction of inpatients from other parts of the state.

    Since the Hostel expansion, the Shire of Merredin is looking to change some of its planning directions. Next of kin may be attracted to take up residence in the town to support their family in the hostel. As it is anticipated that these new residents could be aged, the Shire is planning to accommodate an age friendly ethos in their planning, for example foot paths and ramps.

    The Dryandra Hostel Aged Care Facility received $4.5 million of Royalties for Regions funding to assist in the construction of new facilities for the Hostel. The expansion of the Hostel specifically looked at constructing a new office and kitchen.

    In the future, this provides the Hostel with the opportunity of providing additional beds for dementia patients. It also allows for the attraction of inpatients from other parts of the state.

    Since the Hostel expansion, the Shire of Merredin is looking to change some of its planning directions. Next of kin may be attracted to take up residence in the town to support their family in the hostel. As it is anticipated that these new residents could be aged, the Shire is planning to accommodate an age friendly ethos in their planning, for example foot paths and ramps.

  • North West Drug and Alcohol Support Program

    over 3 years ago

    Royalties for Regions (RfR) has provided accommodation and office space, as well as three additional staff members dedicated to prevention of drug and alcohol abuse.

    The Program looks at preventing drugs and alcohol crisis’s based on a framework of primary health care. The North West Drug Alcohol Support Program is carried out primarily through prevention support officers.

    The importance of RfR funding to this program has been highlighted by a member of the Drug and Alcohol Office, claiming:
    “Without Royalties funding we had one prevention officer we were funding in Fitzroy Crossing
    and no other dedicated prevention across the Kimberley’s
    ...

    Royalties for Regions (RfR) has provided accommodation and office space, as well as three additional staff members dedicated to prevention of drug and alcohol abuse.

    The Program looks at preventing drugs and alcohol crisis’s based on a framework of primary health care. The North West Drug Alcohol Support Program is carried out primarily through prevention support officers.

    The importance of RfR funding to this program has been highlighted by a member of the Drug and Alcohol Office, claiming:
    “Without Royalties funding we had one prevention officer we were funding in Fitzroy Crossing
    and no other dedicated prevention across the Kimberley’s … so without the
    Royalties funding we would have continued to deliver treatment services and residential rehab services in Kimberley … but we would not have been able to dedicate the time to changing that long term culture of alcohol use. With the hope in next 5 to 10 years we can go down the same path of tobacco, taking something that was culturally acceptable and culturally encouraged and turn it into something that is not culturally acceptable and with lot more responsible alcohol consumption rather than the binging culture they have up there at the moment.”

  • Regional Men's Health Program

    over 3 years ago

    Located in Geraldton, the Midwest Men's Health Program, is funded by WACHS, Centrecare and some Royalties for Regions (RfR) investment. Funding from RfR has enabled the suicide prevention program to expand services and appoint an additional staff member. By employment a person of indigenous decent, the Men's Health Program has been able to extend their message to an additional demographic group.

    “(Without RfR funding) we (the Men’s Health Service) wouldn’t be able to put the number of hours that we do, so we would have to cut back services.”

    Located in Geraldton, the Midwest Men's Health Program, is funded by WACHS, Centrecare and some Royalties for Regions (RfR) investment. Funding from RfR has enabled the suicide prevention program to expand services and appoint an additional staff member. By employment a person of indigenous decent, the Men's Health Program has been able to extend their message to an additional demographic group.

    “(Without RfR funding) we (the Men’s Health Service) wouldn’t be able to put the number of hours that we do, so we would have to cut back services.”

  • Remote Indigenous Health Clinics

    over 3 years ago

    Royalties for Regions (RfR) funding has provided two Remote Indigenous Health Clinics in the Shire of Derby-West Kimberley. One of the clinics has been officially opened, and located at Bayulu whilst the second is located at Nookanbah, 10km from Fitzroy Crossing. The Clinic provides for minor treatments and public health programs, particularly health promotion and vaccinations to the surrounding population who do not like travelling to larger centres or hospitals.

    RfR funding looks at providing Clinic staff with a safer and more comfortable working environment to attract staff and increase retention rates. The Clinic doesn’t provide 24-hour service and staff fly in from Fitzroy Crossing on a daily basis.

    The second Clinic at Noolanbah, is being planned, whilst the Bayulu Clinic is being well received by both patients and staff.

    Royalties for Regions (RfR) funding has provided two Remote Indigenous Health Clinics in the Shire of Derby-West Kimberley. One of the clinics has been officially opened, and located at Bayulu whilst the second is located at Nookanbah, 10km from Fitzroy Crossing. The Clinic provides for minor treatments and public health programs, particularly health promotion and vaccinations to the surrounding population who do not like travelling to larger centres or hospitals.

    RfR funding looks at providing Clinic staff with a safer and more comfortable working environment to attract staff and increase retention rates. The Clinic doesn’t provide 24-hour service and staff fly in from Fitzroy Crossing on a daily basis.

    The second Clinic at Noolanbah, is being planned, whilst the Bayulu Clinic is being well received by both patients and staff.

  • Royal Flying Doctor Service

    over 3 years ago

    Through Royalties for Regions (RfR) investment, the Royal Flying Doctors Service (RFDS) has been able to cope with the increasing demand for services. Additional funding has increased staff capacity. “The additional funding for the RFDS has made a huge difference… Wherever you put those extra resources, whether it is aircraft or people, it has an impact everywhere”

    With the RFDS base being located in Derby and Perth, with seven major areas in the State being serviced, challenges exist. RfR funding has allowed for additional staff and the availability of another aeroplane, when necessary, which has made a significant impact. “Demand especially out of the Kimberley has increased significantly and the RFR funding has helped to meet that demand.”

    Through Royalties for Regions (RfR) investment, the Royal Flying Doctors Service (RFDS) has been able to cope with the increasing demand for services. Additional funding has increased staff capacity. “The additional funding for the RFDS has made a huge difference… Wherever you put those extra resources, whether it is aircraft or people, it has an impact everywhere”

    With the RFDS base being located in Derby and Perth, with seven major areas in the State being serviced, challenges exist. RfR funding has allowed for additional staff and the availability of another aeroplane, when necessary, which has made a significant impact. “Demand especially out of the Kimberley has increased significantly and the RFR funding has helped to meet that demand.”

  • Rural Generalist Pathways

    over 3 years ago

    The Rural Generalist Pathways has benefited from the Royalties for Regions (RfR) investment. Located in Albany in close proximity to the Albany Hospital, the RfR investment is used to provide accommodation for resident medical officers and interns. It also enables funding for trips to Perth for professional development, internet access and other professional support.

    The main issue faced has been the ability to provide accommodation for employees. The funds enables the lease a group of townhouses to keep all the doctors together. The style of accommodation has been very well received and has strengthened the attraction of good staff. Most...

    The Rural Generalist Pathways has benefited from the Royalties for Regions (RfR) investment. Located in Albany in close proximity to the Albany Hospital, the RfR investment is used to provide accommodation for resident medical officers and interns. It also enables funding for trips to Perth for professional development, internet access and other professional support.

    The main issue faced has been the ability to provide accommodation for employees. The funds enables the lease a group of townhouses to keep all the doctors together. The style of accommodation has been very well received and has strengthened the attraction of good staff. Most interns come for three terms (approximately nine months) and many new applicants report hearing of the positive experience of others. Two of the interns have shown an interest to come back and are looking to buy property in Albany.

    The over all benefit was summarised by one respondent as: “Being able to offer good support particularly good accommodation to the junior doctors is really contributing to attracting good staff which in turn is building the capacity of the hospital and what underpins sustainability, especially when we are in the new hospital.”

  • Southern Inland Health Initiative Stream

    about 3 years ago

    The Southern Inland Health Initiative (SIHI) is helping to deliver better health services across WA's southern inland region. With Royalties for Regions (RfR) funding being invested into regional medical services over five years, SIHI looks at:

    • improving GP services and 24 hour emergency response;
    • providing major upgrades and enhancements to hospitals;
    • implementing the Primary Health Care Demonstration Program;
    • refurbishment of small hospital and nursing posts;
    • Telehealth technology, including equipment upgrades; and
    • A Residential Aged Care and Dementia Investment program.

    As part the first scheme of SIHI, General Practitioners (GPs) from surrounding towns have been assigned to Merredin Hospital to provide...

    The Southern Inland Health Initiative (SIHI) is helping to deliver better health services across WA's southern inland region. With Royalties for Regions (RfR) funding being invested into regional medical services over five years, SIHI looks at:

    • improving GP services and 24 hour emergency response;
    • providing major upgrades and enhancements to hospitals;
    • implementing the Primary Health Care Demonstration Program;
    • refurbishment of small hospital and nursing posts;
    • Telehealth technology, including equipment upgrades; and
    • A Residential Aged Care and Dementia Investment program.

    As part the first scheme of SIHI, General Practitioners (GPs) from surrounding towns have been assigned to Merredin Hospital to provide 24-hour, seven day coverage for the Emergency Department. In turn, this has reduced the after-hours on-call times for the two rostered GPs at the Merredin Hospital.

    The hospital has been able to operate as a hub site with people in the district requiring emergency care being transported to the hub. Community members have claimed “this (24 hour coverage) has had an impact. Since the introduction of the 24/7 medical coverage there has been a 20% increase in the caseload and emergency department.”