NSW Rural Doctors Network #RuralPositive campaign to thank rural health workers during COVID-19

The team of rural health professionals at Canowindra. Picture: supplied
The team of rural health professionals at Canowindra. Picture: supplied

There are images from 2020 that will remain burned in our collective minds.

No-one will forget the tear-inducing footage of Italians and Spaniards applauding their healthcare workers from their balconies during COVID-19 lockdown. Or the Brits similarly 'clapping for carers' from their gardens, windows and doors on a weekly basis.

Now it's our turn, fellow residents of rural NSW. Let's give thanks to our rural health professionals, and let them know how proud of them we are.

Rural and regional NSW has largely escaped the ravages of COVID-19 until now, but our health care workers have already been doing it hard on the frontline since the pandemic started.

And, like most of us in rural areas, they've been doing it tough for the last few years, with the worse known drought in NSW, the worst ever bushfires in known history, floods, a mouse plague, and COVID-19 to top it off.

We all need a boost of positivity, but no-one needs it more than our hardworking rural health professionals, who have been working on the frontline of the pandemic for the past 18 months.

#RuralPositive, a new initiative facilitated by the NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN), is encouraging members of the community to say thanks to rural health professionals for their resilience and dedication.

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RDN Chair, Dr John Kramer OAM said the rural health workforce had been working tirelessly during very challenging times and it was important to recognise and acknowledge their contribution to remote, rural and regional communities.

"#RuralPositive is a fabulous way to bring people together to say thank you to all rural health professionals whether it be GPs, nurses, allied health practitioners, nurses, midwives, Aboriginal health practitioners, practice managers, media receptionists, carers, health administrators, pharmacists and paramedics," Dr Kramer said.

"Running my practice in Woolgoolga, I have seen the stress and strain firsthand and the extra lengths my staff are going to keep the community safe and healthy, especially through the COVID-19 pandemic.

"A simple thank you will go a long way to bring a smile to their faces and make them feel appreciated."

RDN CEO Richard Colbran said he was looking forward to #RuralPositive bringing positivity to the regions.

"We're asking the community to get behind #RuralPositive and give a big shout out of thanks to our rural health workforce during November," Mr Colbran said.

"It's been amazing to see corporate, community and health partners come together to create a platform for people to say thank you and for our rural health professionals to see just how appreciated they are, which is evident in the #RuralPositive campaign video.

"We hope this initiative will help boost morale and foster wellbeing of our rural health professionals.

"Keeping our health workforce strong, well and capable during these challenging times is paramount for retention and recruitment.

"We also acknowledge that rural health professionals need respite and RDN and the health sector is looking at ways to help as we begin to plan for the recovery phase."

Anyone can thank a rural health professional through the #RuralPositive dedicated website. Community members are also encouraged to share their positive stories of thanks on social media and to thank their local clinician or health worker next time they pay a visit.

For more information and to leave a message of thanks on the #RuralPositive Thanking Wall visit ruralpositive.com.au.