What do we mean by sustainable rural health services? Implications for rural health research


John S. Humphreys, Monash University School of Rural Health, PO Box 666, Bendigo, Victoria, 3552, Australia. Email: john.humphreys@med.monash.edu.au


The concept of health service sustainability, endorsed by the Australian Health Ministers as a key dimension of the National Performance Framework, is particularly important in rural and remote communities. To date, however, few Australian studies have demonstrated how the real drivers of sustainability inter-relate or are translated into sustainable rural and remote health services. This article highlights the need for a systemic approach in which the integrated nature of sustainability components are recognised and evaluated in terms of access to rural and remote health services, quality of care and cost of provision.