A new organization has been formed to coordinate better health care across the north coast.
The organization, known as the North Coast Primary Health Care Network, is one of 32 being set up across the country by the federal government.
Its aim will be to make sure that everyone can receive care from their chosen GP and the wider health care team that they need, and to make sure that this care is readily available, high quality, and that all care is ‘joined up’.
The network will work directly with GPs, specialists, allied health practitioners and hospitals to ensure improved health outcomes for patients.
NCPHN chair Dr Tony Lembke said the focus would be to ensure that people at risk of poor health received ‘the right care at the right place at the right time’.
‘To help this process we will have two clinical councils, one in Northern NSW and one on the Mid North Coast.
‘These important new bodies will advise the network on all clinical issues. This includes advice on health integration and health care gaps, professional development and education, general practice support and quality improvement programs.
‘In addition we have two community groups advising us on local health issues and concerns.’
NCPHN’s chief executive Vahid Saberi said the network would continue to work to keep north coast residents healthy and out of hospital.
‘Our goals are to improve access and reduce inequality in health care; advance an integrated and complementary health system; improve clinical performance, quality and safety and build a strong primary health network,’ he said.
‘Fortunately we have the benefit of a highly experienced skills-based Board whose members will ensure a successful transition to the new North Coast Primary Health Network and beyond,” he added.
The organisation will continue to manage a range of programs and services including Bugalwena General Practice, Tweed Heads, Headspace Lismore and Tweed Heads, Lismore Aboriginal Medical Service, Mid North Coast Specialist Outreach Clinic Coffs Harbour, NewAccess – early mental health intervention for adults, Nimbin Medical Centre, Tarmons House Mental Health Service, and medical clinics for homeless people in Tweed Heads, Lismore, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie.
The federal government has set primary health networks six priority areas – mental health, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, population health, health workforce, eHealth and aged care.