A new program, being trialled in Condobolin, is putting the focus on local needs in primary health care.
The Collaborative Care Program is a community-led planning approach to improve access to primary health care services. The program will also include trials at Parkes and Forbes. Primary Health Care includes general practice, primary care nurses, pharmacy, and allied health.
Collaborative Care is a joint initiative between Western NSW Local Health District, Western NSW Primary Health Network, NSW Rural Doctors Network, and many local stakeholders.
Wellington Digwa is the community contact for the Lachlan Valley project. He works with Western NSW Local Health District.
“I have a background in community development, public health and project management,” he explained.
“I believe that people from the community are experts in their community. They have a better understanding of the challenges that their community face and they have lived experience of what works and doesn’t work.”
As part of the community consultation, two virtual workshops were held recently with representatives from Condobolin and Parkes to better understand local needs. A third workshop is planned with community representatives from Forbes in the coming weeks. The workshops are the start of a consultation that will involve many more local representatives.
“I am planning face to face visits to the region to speak to more people who did not attend the workshops,” Wellington advised.
“We want to consult with General Practitioners, practice managers, non-medical clinicians, allied health practitioners, local councils, and community representatives.”
The aim is to identify opportunities for service providers to strengthen services and to improve community health outcomes.
“The partner organisations involved in the Collaborative Care Program are exploring better ways to deliver primary health care in the Lachlan Valley,” Wellington stated.
“We need to engage communities to understand from their perspective the gaps and challenges in primary health care and how these can be addressed.”
The Collaborative Care Program received funding through the Australian Government and is expected to run until mid-2022.