Our History

Our Origins

The movement to establish a Rural Doctors Association (RDA) in Western Australia was started by Dr Bill Jackson from the Western Australian Centre for Rural and Remote Medicine (WACRRM) in 1991.

The inaugural AGM of the RDAWA was held in October of the same year.  At this meeting the constitution for RDAWA was accepted and a President (Dr Brian Williams) and Secretary (Dr Jane Talbot) duly elected.

In 1992, RDAWA established a structure for the organisation centred around the portfolios of Industrial, Education and Training, Development.

Non-executive members of RDAWA Board soon commenced sitting on national committees to represent RDAWA's views on specific rural issues, including locums, radiology, paediatrics and obstetrics.

Early achievements

In the early years, RDAWA Board members made numerous contacts with the Department of Health of Western Australia (WA Health), including the Director General, Kim Snowball and advocated for a better medical services for rural patients.

This advocacy resulted in the formation of a Rural Health Policy Unit at WA Health, giving RDAWA a clear line of access to the Council of Regional Directors to have a say on rural health policies and programs.

A close association with the Australian Medical Associations of Western Australian through Rob Kirk and Peter Jennings lead to the non-teaching hospitals agreement which aimed improve conditions of service previously existing in relationship with regional and district hospitals.

In January 1993, WACRRM received $400 000 to establish an rural training unit at Fremantle as part of Australia-wide Rural Health Support, Education and Training program grants.

Dr Bill Jackson negotiated continuing medical education for paediatrics and obstetrics at the Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Wanneroo Hospital and Woodside Hospital for interested rural GPs wanting to increase their skills. WACRMM facilitated these arrangements.

RDWA has made many submissions  to WA Health on policy matters. This includes a submission expressing concerns about the intrusion into rural general practice by some WA Health initiatives, such as a travelling well women's clinic, which were addressed and dealt with.