Promoting health and preventing illness
Our approach 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.
A greater focus on cancer screening is needed to combat the region's higher-than-average premature mortality rates (compared to the NSW and Australia-wide averages).
We also work with primary health care providers to maintain and increase our region's immunisation coverage rates.
We have developed a number of strategies to help promote alcohol guidelines and reduce the long term harm that can result from risky alcohol consumption.
Reducing risky alcohol consumption
Alcohol continues to be a major source of harm in Australia. Adult residents in South Eastern NSW engaging in high-risk alcohol consumption has remained consistently higher than the state average over time.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation have developed a region-wide community engagement strategy to build on and complement existing social marketing campaigns to deliver key alcohol messages to help reduce risky alcohol consumption, with particular focus on 18-24 years, 25-29 years and over 50s.
COORDINARE recently partnered with the University of Adelaide to offer training so that GPs could increase their knowledge, confidence and skills to identify and respond to risky substance abuse through a system of targeted screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT). This initiative builds on the existing ASSIST program supported by the University.
The program involved a hybrid approach of online and face-to-face training where GPs learnt to recognise harmful patterns of substance use and equip them with the skills to respond. Some useful resources were developed including:
- Optimising MBS items for patients with alcohol and other drug-related issues.
- Asking about substance use: when is it the right time.
Dr Declan Mulvaney from Milton Medical Clinic, has completed the training and said “I've talked to my team at our technical meeting about the program and how it went. I have also seen the results of my applying it to my cohort of patients many of which have alcohol concerns. In fact, over the last six weeks, patients who I have spoken with have taken the advice, changed their lifestyle, and then come back and reported all the benefits that they see.
A good example is from one patient who said: “I can't believe it, I'm sleeping better than I've slept for years, now that I've cut the alcohol” - I know I’ve suggested that to him more than one hundred times over the last three years but it’s great to see he has finally made a change for the better! So, I've seen success, and I've seen the ability to feed that down among a large group of doctors.”