Rural Regional Roundtable group

The Victorian public healthcare system continues to combat significant system pressures with workforce challenges, the need for long-term infrastructure planning, ongoing system reforms, and increased service demands. Over the past 18 months these pressures have been compounded by the pandemic, adding to the significant challenges experienced by the system. These challenges require collective action, investment and advocacy.

Featuring a lineup of expert guest speakers, the Rural Regional Roundtable (RRR) virtual roundtable series aims to support rural and regional hospitals’ immediate and long-term preparedness and resilience. The RRR focuses on key system pressures including:

  • workforce
  • health infrastructure
  • sector coordination and communication
  • surge capacity and system resilience.


Past meetings and report

Building a case for change in regional healthcare (21 June 2022)

At past meetings we have been articulating the systemic challenges impacting the sector, including workforce and infrastructure. Health board directors, executives and senior leaders from rural and regional VHA member organisations joined our third RRR to bring these collective insights together to refine our rural and regional policy platform. Attendees were invited to summarise the key challenges faced by the sector, explore policy solutions, and prioritise the VHA’s advocacy agenda for the Victorian election and beyond.

Click here for a summary of the roundtable.


Report: Responding to workforce pressures in rural and regional Victoria (April 2022)

The VHA developed a report exploring the complex challenges of workforce by drawing on both academic evidence and the collective insights of over 50 senior leaders from across health services in rural and regional Victoria.

This report outlines the chronic and unique workforce challenges faced by rural and regional health services that are exacerbated by geographical location and scale of service. Challenges include housing availability, flexible workforce models, and competitive remuneration which create added complexity to recruitment and retention.

Policy ideas can be gleaned from the report’s case studies that highlight innovations that seek to both stimulate workforce pathways and protect the current pool of staff.

Click here to read the report.


Responding to workforce pressures (15 February 2022)

At the first roundtable meeting, members identified that workforce was the greatest pressure on the health system. As such, this second forum focused on helping services navigate short-term workforce shortages exacerbated by the omicron outbreak, as well as longstanding workforce issues. Attendees were invited to explore potential solutions and help shape the VHA’s support and advocacy efforts.

Members were joined by VHA Deputy Board Chair and CEO of West Wimmera Health Service, Trevor Adem, and Alpine Health CEO, Nick Shaw, for an interactive session exploring system challenges and testing potential policy solutions.

Key themes that emerged included:

  • that workforce remains an ongoing challenge for the sector and has been exacerbated by the omicron outbreak over the summer period
  • that policy solutions must address workforce holistically and acknowledge the rural and regional experience (for instance, housing availability).

Click here to read a summary of this roundtable.


COVID-19 preparedness (13 October 2021)

Rural and regional health board directors, executives, and senior leaders from across the state joined virtual discussions on readiness and resilience as the health system prepares for the COVID-19 peak.

We have summarised key themes from the session in this article. The information collected around COVID-19 preparedness will assist in applying a strong rural and regional lens to our ‘Navigating COVID peak’ advocacy work.

We would like to thank Chris Hotham, Deputy Secretary for Health Infrastructure, for his time and sharing his insights from the Department of Health. We would also like to thank our members for their engagement and support to help shape policy and advocacy efforts – especially during such a busy time. Workforce was a strong theme that came through and will a key topic on the agenda for the RRR series.



For more information on the RRR group, contact us: 03 9094 7777 or email