Original classification rating: PG.
This clip chosen to be PG
Cobar Shire is as big as Tasmania and until recently was served by Dr Kevin Coleman. He’s spent 11 years in Cobar thriving in the complete care of his patients. But now he’s finding the job less than satisfying with most of his patients being shipped out of the area to hospitals in bigger centres or to teaching hospitals in Sydney. His family has moved to Sydney and he’s packing up and leaving the area to join them in the big city because he feels he’s no longer able to ignore his family’s needs.
This program presents an issue that’s facing most advanced countries today. What to do about health care for remote area people, especially in Australia where the distances are so vast. And if the problem is so enormous for white Australians in rural Australia, what must it be like for Aboriginal Australians?
This well-made sequence establishes a number of points very economically. For example, filming the interview with the clearly committed but frustrated doctor as he travels between jobs also shows the beautiful but sparse countryside, giving a real sense of the isolation of the area.
This clip from the ABC current affairs program Four Corners in 2006 shows Dr Kevin Coleman performing a minor procedure on the leg of a female patient. Coleman says he originally moved to Cobar, New South Wales, to practise obstetrics but feels that he has lost a battle to 'maintain procedural services’ and has made the decision to leave the practice. The reporter in voice-over explains that Coleman is the only doctor on call to service the entire shire of Cobar, which covers a huge area and has a population of 7,000. The reporter continues that doctors in the country are overworked and that 'they suffer big burn-out rates’. The clip ends with Coleman saying that he no longer feels that he has a life-saving role in Cobar.
Educational value points
- According to the ABC’s online journal Health Matters, doctors often find the prospect of working in regional areas of Australia unattractive as they usually have to work longer hours and handle a wider variety of complaints than doctors in metropolitan areas. Coleman, for example, claims to work 70–80 hours a week. There is often a lack of resources and limited technology in rural areas. Medical indemnity insurance is higher and doctors are faced with a greater likelihood of being sued for medical negligence because of their wide-ranging responsibilities.
- About 130 rural maternity units were closed between 1996 and 2006, and while in 2002 there were 706 GP obstetricians practising in rural regions, by November 2004 this number had fallen to 657. City practitioners undertaking obstetrics are generally younger than their rural counterparts, and according to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners the main reasons they are hesitant about practising obstetrics in rural areas are the high cost of personal indemnity insurance, the fear of litigation and excessive work hours.
- To attract health workers to isolated rural areas, governments are offering doctors financial incentives and encouraging students to undertake part of their medical training and placements in regional areas. Specialist training is being offered to Indigenous Australian health workers who are prepared to return to live in their own communities, and medical schools are also being attached to regional universities.
- In November 2006, the Australian Government passed legislation entitling GPs in regional areas who deliver 20 or more babies in a year to a 'procedural payment’ of $17,000, in a bid to improve rural maternity services. In addition, medical groups are lobbying for funding for obstetric training and appropriate locum support.
- Matthew Carney, the journalist narrating the clip, has worked as a reporter and a producer with the ABC and SBS television networks for 15 years, and began working as a journalist for Four Corners in 2005. During his career he has won three Walkley Awards (awards recognising excellence in Australian journalism), one TV Week Logie Award (Australian television industry awards) and a United Nations Media Peace Prize.
- The clip is taken from Four Corners, an ABC network current affairs program that began in August 1961. Four Corners is Australia’s longest-running current affairs program. It has received international recognition and is renowned for investigating media stories in depth.
Thanks to the generosity of the rights holders, we are able to offer It's no longer cradle to grave stuff from the television program Four Corners – Far From Care as a high quality video download.
To play the downloadable video, you need QuickTime 7.0, VLC, or similar.
You must read and agree to the following terms and conditions before downloading the clip:
Downloadable Video – FOR EDUCATIONAL CRITICISM AND REVIEW PURPOSES ONLY
This clip is available for download for the limited purpose of criticism and review in an educational context. You must obtain permission from firstname.lastname@example.org for all other purposes for use of this material.
Terms & Conditions
australianscreen is produced by the National Film and Sound Archive. By using the website you agree to comply with the terms and conditions described here and elsewhere on this site. The NFSA may amend the 'Conditions of Use’ from time to time without notice.
All materials on the site, including but not limited to text, video clips, audio clips, designs, logos, illustrations and still images, are protected by the Copyright Laws of Australia and international conventions. ALL rights are reserved.
You must read and agree to the following terms and conditions before downloading this clip:
When you access ABC materials on australianscreen you agree that:
- You may download this clip to assist your information, criticism and review purposes in conjunction with viewing this website only;
- Downloading this clip for purposes other than criticism and review is Prohibited;
- Downloading for purposes other than non-commercial educational uses is Prohibited;
- Downloading this clip in association with any commercial purpose is Prohibited;
The National Film and Sound Archive’s permission must be sought to amend any information in the materials, unless otherwise stated in notices throughout the Site.
ANY UNAUTHORISED USE OF MATERIAL ON THIS SITE MAY RESULT IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LIABILITY.
This clip is available in the following configurations:
||Optimised for full-screen display on a fast computer.
||Can be displayed full screen. Also suitable for video iPods.
||Recommended if you have a slow internet connection, limited storage space, or an older computer. Not suitable for playing full-screen
Right-click on the links above to download video files to your computer.