Our programs and priorities
The COVID-19 pandemic and increased incidence of influenza has created additional challenges for primary health care professionals.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2019-2020 bushfires, PHNs took on new responsibilities. These ranged from supporting communities in their recovery from drought and bushfire trauma, to helping coordinate the Commonwealth Government's response to the pandemic.
There are high rates of mental and behavioural disorders, and psychological distress in our region, especially amongst Aboriginal people and people living in rural areas. An increased, targeted and sustained mental healthcare and suicide prevention response to natural disasters and the pandemic will be required for many years to come.
Our joint Regional Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan 2018-2023 outlines a vision to create one mental health system - planned, delivered and monitored together – to provide better outcomes for people experiencing mental health issues or with mental illness.
Chronic conditions are the leading cause of illness, premature mortality, and health system utilisation in the South Eastern NSW region.
We have an important role in facilitating, linking, and co-designing activities with health and social care partners to improve the prevention and management of chronic conditions.
One in five residents in South Eastern NSW is aged over 65 years. We have developed healthy ageing initiatives to support the health and wellbeing of older Australians.
Our vision is that older people in South Eastern NSW have the supports they need to live longer and live well.
The premature mortality rates for the South Eastern NSW region are higher than the state and national averages, and as our population ages, the demand for appropriate end of life and palliative care is growing.
We have partnered with a range of organisations and stakeholders to help enhance the quality of services and promote dignity in dying.
Our region is home to over 27,680 Aboriginal people on the lands of the Yuin, Dharawal, Ngunnawal/Ngambri and Ngarigo Nations. Aboriginal people represent 4.3% of our local population. We work with local partners to achieve equality in health outcomes for Aboriginal people in the region.
We commission targeted services for Aboriginal people and work with mainstream primary care to develop and improve meaningful cultural safety, as we continue our journey of reconciliation.
We assist primary health care providers to understand and make meaningful use of digital health.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the uptake of telehealth among providers and consumers. 97% of GPs provide consultations via telephone or video compared to 15% before the pandemic.
Social determinants such as access to housing, education and employment, social supports, as well as postcode, strongly influence health. While directly addressing these factors may be outside of the scope of our PHN, there are primary care-based approaches that can alleviate the impact of the social determinants of health.
Social prescribing is a practical way to address the social determinants of health from within the primary care system. It enables health professionals to refer consumers to local community services and supports to improve their health and wellbeing. We have begun a trial of social prescribing that enables providers to refer consumers to a range of existing community services to overcome social isolation and barriers to accessing health services, and ultimately reduce inequity in our society.
Our region has a high percentage of adults who consume alcohol at levels posing a long-term risk to health. We are guided by the National Drug Strategy 2017-2026 and the National Ice Action Strategy, with a focus on limiting methamphetamine use in the community.
We work with our commissioned partners, local service providers and communities to prevent alcohol and other drug harm, and better support people with alcohol and other drug-related issues.
Our approach to prevention focuses on promoting health and preventing illness through early detection and treatment. This can make a real difference to the long-term health outcomes for local residents across South Eastern NSW.
Tools and resources for general practice
We provide support to general practices across the region to improve quality of care and to access the latest technology, resources and education.
We are dedicated to supporting general practices across our region to achieve and maintain accreditation status.
We work with general practices to improve screening participation rates and reduce the risk of cancers.
We work with general practices to improve the overall effectiveness of routine primary care consultations.
We encourage general practices to participate in the Practice Incentives Program.
We work with primary health care providers to maintain and increase our region’s immunisation coverage rate.
Infection control is vital to providing high quality health care for patients and a safe working environment.
We can help improve practice workflow with a range of quality improvement tools and resources.
Team based care
High-performing practices view teams as a necessity, ensuring the patient is placed at the centre of their care.
GP Psychiatry Support Line
GPs can call 1800 16 17 18 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, for free and instant advice from a psychiatrist to help them manage the mental health care of their patients.
Partnering to integrate services and systems
Integrated care involves providing seamless, effective and efficient care that reflects a person’s health and social care needs. It requires a greater focus on communication and connectivity between healthcare providers, and better access to health services closer to home such as general practice, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) or community-based services.
Collaboration is the key to providing exceptional healthcare, as no single provider can deliver truly integrated care.
Working with our Local Health Districts (LHDs)
We have mature and successful partnerships with the LHDs in our region, and we continue to improve service and system integration.
Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs)
We work closely with the four ACCHOs across the region to identify needs, co-design and integrate services.
HealthPathways is a a free web-based portal to support general practitioners and health professionals refer patients to the right care, in the right place, at the right time.
The Lumos program
The Lumos program generates new insights to improve health services and patient outcomes across the state.
Learning and development
Work with us to improve local health outcomes
We offer professional development and learning opportunities for health professionals in the region. You can also read about the health needs of South Eastern NSW communities in our Population Health Profile.
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