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A key player in the primary health sector

Gippsland Primary Health Network (Gippsland PHN) has cemented its position as a key player in the primary health sector for the region and this was celebrated at its Annual General Meeting in Sale on November 20th.

In her final term as Gippsland PHN Chair, Dr Sinead De Gooyer was proud to release the Gippsland PHN Annual Report that highlights a significant year of growth.

“Primary Health Networks (PHNs) have proven themselves as an essential platform for health reform,” Dr De Gooyer explained. “The Australian Government has recognised this critical role and responded by providing multi-year funding agreements, ensuring sustainability for Gippsland PHN and the service providers we commission.”

The Gippsland PHN Board heard that more federal primary health programs were being commissioned through PHNs every year with the expansion of the mental health and suicide prevention portfolio increasing significantly.

“Gippsland PHN’s vision is for a measurably healthier Gippsland,” Dr De Gooyer said. “We recognise we must think beyond health to achieve this vision and have an impact at a population health level.”

With a focus on robust research and evaluation, Gippsland PHN continues to take on key roles in identifying best practice and testing new approaches to health service commissioning and delivery. Despite stepping down from her role as Chair, Dr De Gooyer said she would continue to watch with interest as these kinds of trials continued to be a significant part of Gippsland PHN’s activity.

“Incorporating research and evaluation into the way in which we work instils confidence in the calibre of the work of Gippsland PHN,” she continued.

The courageous and innovative leadership of Gippsland PHN’s new executive and senior leadership teams was acknowledged at the AGM with Dr De Gooyer acknowledging the work started by Marianne Shearer who ended her term as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in September 2018.

Current Gippsland PHN CEO, Amanda Proposch, said the organisation’s commitment to and recognition of General Practice as the cornerstone of primary healthcare in their communities remained steadfast.

“The work during the 2018/19 year had a considerable focus on building teams with experienced staff to work closely with general practitioners, practice teams and other services throughout Gippsland” Ms Proposch explained.

“Evidence from both Australia and overseas suggests that general practice will have a stronger role in healthcare to prevent and manage chronic disease and our teams are now in place to support this already high performing part of our health system in a more tangible way than ever before.”

Ms Proposch acknowledged members of the Clinical Councils and Community Advisory Committee for their leadership and guidance throughout the year, while highlighting the support from Gippsland PHN’s “inspiring” Executive colleagues. 

“I want to thank our incredible staff who have worked with passion, agility, resilience, determination and kindness and the inimitable leadership of our Chair, Dr Sinead De Gooyer and Directors of Gippsland PHN,” Ms Proposch said.

“They provide a solid platform to drive our strategic priorities forward and secure a robust avenue for collaborative partnerships for the pursuit of our vision – a measurably healthier Gippsland.”

A highlight of the AGM was the announcement of the winners of the 2019 Gippsland Primary Health Awards.

Five winners (including two joint winners) were announced in the four categories of Innovation, Integration and Partnerships, Improved Access to Health Services and Culturally Appropriate Support for Indigenous and other Diverse Communities from an impressive field of nine finalists.

View the 2019 Gippsland Primary Health award winners or view the Gippsland PHN Annual Report .