Key messages

  • A nurse-led x-ray service in small rural health services can reduce the need for patients to travel to larger centres for minor radiographic examinations.
  • A limited x-ray service model can also reduce pressure on rural ambulance services and emergency departments.
  • Eleven small rural health services have been funded to help them establish or enhance their limited x-ray service in line with the Department of Health & Human Services’ guidelines.

Developing small rural health services’ capacity to perform limited x-rays for patients attending their emergency or urgent care centres can reduce the need for patients to travel to larger centres for minor radiographic examinations, thereby avoiding the time, cost and inconvenience associated with such travel.

Introducing a limited x-ray service model safely can reduce unnecessary pressure on rural ambulance services and on busy regional and metropolitan emergency departments.

In June 2013 the then Department of Health developed statewide guidelines for eligible small rural health services wanting to provide a limited x-ray service at their facility. The guidelines, Guidelines for a limited x-ray service in small rural health services (June 2013), were developed to assist small rural health services to:

  • assess the need for limited x-ray services in their community
  • monitor the ongoing limited x-ray service.
  • effectively and safely implement the service model

Since developing the guidelines, 11 eligible small rural health services have been funded to support them in establishing or enhancing their limited x-ray service in line with the guidelines. Funding has been provided as one-off grants to the eligible health services (following two rounds of expressions of interest) to help with service set-up costs, including costs associated with training new operators and the cost of having radiographers from auspice centres provide supervision and further training to the newly trained operators.

Access the guidelines and list of eligible small rural health services in the related links section.

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