Two million reasons to celebrate

NSW Rural Doctors Network

Outreach, the program being delivered across 214 towns in NSW & the ACT with 850 medical practitioners, including medical specialists, nurses, and allied health professionals, provides people in the bush with essential health services.

Outreach is a federally funded health access program administered by NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN) has just achieved the remarkable milestone of delivering its two millionth consultation to patients in rural and remote NSW and the ACT. Known as

For more than 20 years, Outreach has facilitated a range of health providers, including specialists in more than 50 disciplines, from cardiologists to neurologists and allied health professions, from physiotherapists to speech pathologists, to travel to towns and Aboriginal communities around the state.

RDN CEO Richard Colbran says the Outreach program has improved the health of many thousands of people in the bush.

“We’re proud to reach this remarkable 2 million milestone made possible by the dedication of our more than 850 clinicians who provide healthcare for people who would otherwise have to travel long distances to see medical practitioners. Outreach removes the big barriers of cost and time away from home and work that limit rural and remote people from accessing such health professionals.”

“We are always conscious of helping to close the gap on Aboriginal health and are very pleased that around two-thirds of these 2 million consultations have been with Aboriginal people, most of them provided through local Aboriginal Community Controlled health services.”

“Fortunately, the majority of Outreach’s health practitioners live in regional centres and can drive to see their patients, frequently doing so for many years, meaning their patients get the important health benefit of receiving continuity of care,” Mr Colbran said.

Raised in rural Victoria, Dr Richard Cranswick is a cardiologist dedicated to helping disadvantaged communities and for over 20 years has been travelling to remote towns like Lightning Ridge through the Outreach program.

“I am dedicated to doing what I can to bring the best level of healthcare for patients in disadvantaged areas, particularly in Aboriginal communities, to help close the gap in health outcomes.”

“The Federal Government funding through RDN makes it possible for me to keep regularly visiting patients in towns like Forbes and small Aboriginal communities where expensive equipment to conduct tests like an ECG just isn’t available. Through Outreach I can bring city standards of testing and care to people in the bush.”

Diabetes management practitioner Annabel Thurlow has been an Outreach provider for more than ten years and is passionate about assisting people to manage their diabetes and help prevent complications.

“Offering diabetes management to people in rural communities via the Outreach program is so rewarding on both a professional and personal level as many of the people I see are disadvantaged compared to their peers in the city who can more easily access the healthcare they need. I get great satisfaction from helping people manage their diabetes and getting to know them and travelling to lovely rural landscapes where they live is good for my soul too.”

For many people in remote areas across the state, even access to an optometrist can be difficult and Kyri Mavrolefteros has been travelling regularly to see patients in places like Walgett, Brewarrina, Bourke, and Cobar for 20 years – and he intends to do so for many more.

“I feel privileged to be able to help people with vision problems in the little villages and remote Aboriginal communities where I can also discover causes of vision problems like diabetes that would likely go untreated if Outreach didn’t help me to see patients close to their homes. Improving people’s vision can help with schooling, self-esteem and whole quality of life, so it’s a very rewarding thing to do. I’ll never forget the smiles on two young Aboriginal girls’ faces when they got their new glasses and since told me it had changed their lives.”


  • 2 million consultations (Occasion of Service)
  • 214 towns across NSW & ACT
  • 800 specialist and allied health professionals (delivering services this year)
  • 57% of Outreach patients are Aboriginal or Torres Straight Islanders
  • In a recent survey 44% of patients waited less than a month between referral and seeing a specialist
  • 62% of patients didn’t get charged a fee for their consultations
  • 90% reported that the quality of treatment and care they received was either good or very good.
  • 54% of patients drive less than 15 minutes to access the healthcare they need
  • 40% increase in the range of services Outreach provides
  • Since 2008, RDN has provided 752 upskilling services to local health practitioners in fields including eye and ear health, diabetes, cardiology, and dermatology and many more
  • 90% of practitioners say they were satisfied or very satisfied with the Outreach Programs
  • Over 50% of practitioners said they intend to continue providing Outreach services for at least the next five years or more.

*RDN is a not-for-profit and is the Australian Government’s designated Rural Workforce Agency for Health in NSW. Its vision is for improved health service access for all Australians – no matter where they live. RDN receives program funding from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing and the NSW Ministry of Health.

/Public Release.