Rural maternity care and health policy: parents’ experiences

Evans, Rebecca, Veitch, Craig, Hays, Richard, Clark, Michelle, and Larkins, Sarah (2011) Rural maternity care and health policy: parents’ experiences. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 19 (6). pp. 306-311.

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Objective: To explore rural residents’ experiences of access to maternity care with consideration of the policy context.

Design: This paper describes findings from focus groups with parents which formed part of case study data from a larger study.

Setting: Four north Queensland rural towns. Participants: Thirty-three parents living in one of the four rural towns.

Main outcome measures: Identifying prevalent themes in case studies regarding rural parents’ expectations and experiences in accessing maternity care.

Results: Parents desired a local, safe and consistent maternity service. Removing or downgrading rural services introduced new barriers to care for rural residents: (i) increased financial costs; (ii) family issues; and (iii) safety concerns.

Conclusions: Although concerns about rural residents’ health status and health care access have received significant policy attention for over a decade, many of the problems which prompted these policy initiatives remain today. Current policy approaches should be re-evaluated in order to improve rural Australians’ access to vital health services such as maternity care.

Item ID: 19333
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1440-1584
Keywords: case study, health access, north Queensland, policy
Funders: Australian Postgraduate Award, Queensland Department of the Premier and Cabinet (Growing the Smart State PhD Funding Program)
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2011 00:35
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160508 Health Policy @ 40%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111717 Primary Health Care @ 30%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 30%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920206 Health Policy Economic Outcomes @ 30%
92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920208 Health Inequalities @ 40%
92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920506 Rural Health @ 30%
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