Barriers to accessing rural paediatric speech pathology services: Health care consumers’ perspectives

Authors

  • Anna M. O'Callaghan,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Community Health, Charles Sturt University, Albury-Wodonga, New South Wales, Australia
      Ms Anna M. O’Callaghan, 510 Garden Street, Albury, New South Wales, 2460, Australia. Email: annamocallaghan@hotmail.com
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  • Lindy McAllister,

    1. School of Community Health, Charles Sturt University, Albury-Wodonga, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Linda Wilson

    1. School of Community Health, Charles Sturt University, Albury-Wodonga, New South Wales, Australia
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Ms Anna M. O’Callaghan, 510 Garden Street, Albury, New South Wales, 2460, Australia. Email: annamocallaghan@hotmail.com

Abstract

Objective: An investigation of consumers’ perceived barriers to access paediatric speech pathology services.

Design: Self-administered, mail-out questionnaire.

Setting: Rural and remote New South Wales (NSW).

Subjects: Three hundred and twenty-nine members of the NSW branch of the Isolated Children's and Parents’ Association.

Results: Consumers living in rural and remote areas experience a number of barriers that affected their ability to access speech pathology services. These barriers include the lack, and limited choice, of speech pathologists in rural areas; long distances to travel to access services, expensive travel costs, lack of public transport; poor awareness of speech pathology services; and delays in treatment due to waiting lists.

Conclusion: Barriers to access paediatric speech pathology services limit rural and remote consumers’ usage of health services, regardless of need, indicating a possible inequity if compared to larger, more accessible urban areas.

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