Health Workforce Safety in Remote Australia

Page last updated: 14 September 2018

Remote area health workforce safety and security has been a longstanding concern for all governments and employers.

Remote area health professionals are required to provide services in areas where there are often inadequate staffing levels, frequent calls out at night, professional isolation, violence in the workplace, limited supervision, concerns for personal safety, inadequate infrastructure or equipment and often within a cross cultural context. Remote area health workers are also required to work under these conditions whilst striving to meet the health demands of some of the most disadvantaged populations in Australia.

Employers are responsible for providing safe and secure working conditions for their staff. While the Australian Government does not directly employ remote area health staff, it has invested in improving safety and security for the remote area health workforce by funding CRANAplus to develop a suite of resources to assist and guide employers, health service providers, communities, clinicians and other health workers, to establish and maintain safe and effective working arrangements at remote health services.

The resources provide guidance in addressing the complexity of factors that influence remote area health workforce safety and security, such as:

  • conducting risk assessments of personal safety issues in the clinic, community, residence, and when on call;
  • guidance on how to respond to critical events;
  • orientating staff to working in remote settings; and
  • training staff in communication and aggression de-escalation techniques.
The remote health workforce safety and security resources listed below are available on the CRANAplus website:

Due to the effects of drought, the specialist and generalist health workforce in rural and remote areas of Australia are experiencing an increase in demand for their services.

On 29 August 2018, the Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, announced additional funding for CRANAplus to train rural and remote health professionals in drought affected areas to identify, manage and refer those at increasing risk associated with the negative impacts of the drought.

Reviewed Date: 29 March 2019