Rural and Remote Medical Services Ltd was established as a not-for-profit charity in 2001 by the NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN).
RARMS Health was established in response to the growing shortage of rural GPs. The lack of access to primary care in our communities contributed to escalating rates of chronic disease, preventable illness and mortality rates up to 11 years earlier than people who live in metropolitan areas.
The lack of GPs also meant that rural hospitals relied on variable and high-cost Locums to staff emergency departments and in-patient services. The cost and variability of Locum services resulted in the downgrading of numerous rural hospitals across the country.
RARMS was established by rural doctors who were convinced that it is possible to attract GPs to live and work in rural or remote Australia by properly supporting them and recognising their dedication to the health of local people.
The rural doctors that helped form RARMS were proven right. For 20 years, RARMS has ensured that 22,000 rural, remote and Indigenous Australians have local access to appropriate and affordable health and medical care delivered by doctors, nurses and health staff who live and work in their towns.
Today, RARMS Health works in some the most socio-economically disadvantaged communities in Australia, and more than 25 percent of our patients are from Indigenous backgrounds.
RARMS first works with local communities to understand their local needs, develop a Place-Based Health Plan and then define the right mix of services to meet community health needs.
RARMS specialist medical recruitment service then recruits permanent doctors to work in the community, and maintains a large and dedicated roster of experienced and qualified rural Locums during to provide support to our communities during periods of leave or vacancies in the role of permanent doctor.
RARMS Health operates the local medical centre for the community, but does not own medical practices or employ doctors. Rather, we work with local communities to establish or take-over medical practices where feasible and provide a practice in which doctors can work as independent practitioners. The GP pays RARMS Health to work in the practice, and RARMS Health uses this money to pay for the premises, health staff and administration.
Any remaining funds are placed into RARMS' Charitable Reserves to fund the recruitment of short term doctors if a doctor decides to relocate or needs to take leave.
This way, RARMS has been successful in ensuring the continuity of practice over more than two decades of working in rural and remote communities.
For an account of the RARMS early experiences in Walgett and Lightning Ridge, download the Easy Entry, Gracious Exit booklet.
To see where RARMS Heath is working with local communities, please click this link to the RARMS Health web site.