Rural Support Service

The Rural Support Service (RSS) is a business unit in SA Health that is responsible for providing flexible, responsive and innovative services to support the six regional local health networks (LHNs) across South Australia.

The RSS is led by Debbie Martin, Executive Director. It comprises more than 350 staff spread across regional and metro SA operating in a client-centred model, providing leadership and expertise in digital health and innovation, regional health and wellbeing services, regional workforce planning and development, business services and statewide clinical services.

Advocating for the health priorities of regional South Australians, the RSS provides a diverse range of functions services centrally and combines skills and strengths in areas where scale and expertise benefits health care delivery. It is also responsible for delivering statewide services for and with all ten LHNs in South Australia.

The RSS supports the state’s six regional LHNs by:

  • providing regional capacity and capability in several specialised clinical services and corporate functions, for example in human resources, industrial relations, contract management, finance, research governance and project management
  • bringing together regional LHNs, consumers and other stakeholders to work as partners and benefit from the strengths of working together
  • leading on and responding to regional or common issues
  • developing and sharing innovations and expertise
  • addressing overall rural health challenges
  • ultimately enabling, where sustainable and appropriate, the regions to strengthen local capacity and capability.

Services provided by the RSS across the regional networks include:

Statewide services include:

History and governance of the Rural Support Service

SA Health governance reforms in 2019 saw six regional LHNs established - responsible for delivery of publicly funded health services in their regions - and the Rural Support Service, in a transition from the former Country Health SA organisation.

RSS Strategic Plan

The Rural Support Service’s Strategic Plan 2022-26 guides the organisation over the next four years in its role as a leader and partner with the state’s six regional LHNs in delivery of exceptional health care to regional communities, as well as in sharing its expertise to strengthen services provided across the metropolitan LHNs.

An important step in the RSS’s evolution, the Strategic Plan 2022-26 puts it in a strong position to continue to provide efficient business services across regional SA, design workforce solutions that align with future ways of working, harness emerging technologies and enable services to be provided closer to people’s homes.

A centrepiece of the RSS plan is the focus on innovative models of care and building and bridging of collaborative partnerships so that regional LHNs, consumers and other stakeholders can all benefit from the strengths of working together.

RSS Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan

The Rural Support Service follows its Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) (17.4MB), articulating a framework for supporting reconciliation to ensure it’s a culturally safe and respectful place to work, and that employment opportunities are expanded for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Interested in regional and rural health matters?

If you’re working in regional public health or are interested in news about rural and regional health in South Australia, sign up to the Rural Support Service’s monthly e-newsletter by emailing