The renewal of our joint protocol with the Metro North Hospital and Health Service in December 2018 marked a significant milestone for healthcare collaboration in Brisbane North.
This has further enhanced the strength of the partnership between our two organisations, with obvious benefits for our joint Health Alliance.
As a result, the Alliance has made significant progress over the past year with its priority projects.
Its Ageing Well Initiative is co-designing an improved interface between hospital, primary and community services and the Alliance is continuing to collaborate across sectors to co-design system solutions for children and their families in Caboolture.
Within the mental health, suicide prevention and alcohol and other drugs portfolio, we celebrated the launch of our joint regional plan – Planning for Wellbeing – at the Brisbane Mental Health Expo.
We have now partnered with five key agencies to lead the implementation of this plan over the next 12 months.
In accordance with the plan, we have also conducted a review of all mental health, suicide prevention and alcohol and other drug treatment services in our region.
This has resulted, for example, in the establishment of three new integrated mental health service hubs to support people with severe mental illness and a restructuring of the Brisbane MIND suite of psychological services.
Residents of local aged care facilities are also benefiting from a new federally-funded psychology program, which has allowed us to expand the low-intensity services we had commissioned through mental health service provider Change Futures.
Recent changes in mental health funding has necessarily brought our local Partners in Recovery consortium to an end after six successful years and its staff have spent the majority of the year transitioning eligible clients to the NDIS.
However, our local implementation of the National Suicide Prevention Trial has ramped up over this period, with a range of projects and campaigns targeting LGBTI communities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the general community.
Additional progress on suicide prevention has also come through a welcome injection of new federal funding to expand The Way Back Support Service out to Caboolture.
The depth and breadth of these developments have certainly kept Brisbane North PHN busy, but the direction has been overwhelmingly positive. I look forward to the next chapter and thank all our valued stakeholders for their ongoing support.
After a demanding, but productive year, it was wonderful to end on a high note with the launch of our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
Endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, the ‘Reflect’ RAP formalises Brisbane North PHN’s ongoing commitment to reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
It also symbolises the growth and change happening within our organisation, so it was a great privilege to MC the launch event in June and share in this special moment with our staff and many stakeholders of First Nations heritage.
As a GP, I am encouraged by the PHN’s quiet effort towards achieving a culturally responsive health system.
Similarly, the growth of its collaborative initiatives will give local health professionals more opportunity to engage in system redesign.
There are now five PHN collaboratives covering such topics as chronic wound care, palliative care, allied health care and residential aged care. These are also excellent networking opportunities.
Medical professionals also benefit from our ongoing support for the HealthPathways platform, which became even easier to use this year with the release of a mobile responsive website.
In 2018-19, the PHN’s public information campaigns kept the spotlight on childhood immunisation and after-hours medical care alternatives.
The Medical Mums campaign released a new animation video to tackle some of the main myths causing vaccine hesitancy, while the ‘horror’ flu season helped sharpen the focus of our Emergency Alternatives campaign.
In May, I had the pleasure of meeting many of the executive managers and board directors who lead the 19 member organisations involved in our healthy@home aged care consortium.
The consortium now has its own website – healthyathome.org.au – and collectively supports nearly 8000 older people who access Commonwealth Home Support Program services.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge the commencement this year of a four-year program that aims to co-design an Integrated Model of Dementia Care in Brisbane North.
This program will develop a regional dementia strategy, while also improving quality of care for people living with dementia, their families and carers.
Of course, there is much more activity deserving of a mention, but this brief summary should provide every confidence in the PHN’s continuing commitment to our vision of a community where good health is available to everyone.
Dr Anita Green