November 2021 Volume 7 Issue 11

View the full newsletter here

Message from the CEO - Kim Hosking

Like other organisations our task has been to maintain and indeed grow our work, while managing the challenges of a global pandemic.
It is a credit to our staff, Board and all those we collaborate and associate with that we have adapted to an off-and-on-site work environment, tele and video conferencing, maintaining our work and developing new projects and responding to need – all while maintaining our positive work culture.

Country SA PHN has contributed to the National and State COVID-19 response - supporting respiratory clinics, telehealth initiatives, system adaption, support and resilience, general practice and other provider communications and support, distribution of personal protective equipment and vaccination support. We have been actively engaged with the Commonwealth in their approaches and strategies and with the State in planning and responding as required. Unusual in the national context, we have been engaged by the State in the State Command Centre activities.

Our contracted service providers have been supported and provided flexibility to help them deliver their services in the challenges of the changing environment.

Country SA PHN funded by the Commonwealth, continues to shoulder the burden of Mental Health services at Tier 1 and 2 level across rural South Australia and has expanded its headspace and suicide prevention services as well as maintained psychosocial mental health support activities.

We continue, and have expanded our activities, to provide additional allied health in vulnerable small communities across all regions of rural SA.

We are active in the Aboriginal Health space - commissioning services under the Close the Gap umbrella and through flexible fund allocations to specific Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and mental health funding targeted to Aboriginal communities.

Our General Practice Support team provides capacity support, focussed on quality and technology assistance. Continuing professional development is provided through our commissioned service provider.

We are actively engaged with Wellbeing SA, the SAHMRI Health Translation Centre and the State’s Centre on Excellence and Innovation in Health, as well as Local Health Networks across rural SA. Our Needs Analysis work underpins this engagement and contributes to decision making in resource allocation and prioritising activity.

This year there have been two Commonwealth reviews of national PHN performance in addition to our annual reviews. We are very pleased with the review’s positive outcomes and even more pleased and proud of our own review of performance within the network and how our activity compares nationally. Our PHN expends 85% of our funds on services directly to the community. This is an exceptional ratio and puts Country SA PHN at the peak of national PHN performance.

Our ongoing challenges remain in seeking to meet the needs of the communities within limited resources and particularly to the mental health needs of our communities. State provided levels of funding and resourcing and a lack of private providers as well as workforce pressures add to the challenges for communities and the architecture of the health system across rural SA.

We are, however, pleased to have a committed and positive workforce, Board, Local Health Clusters and friends within the system who all contribute to our good work, often above and beyond expectation. Their work, commitment and friendship are greatly appreciated. It reflects one of our strengths, not simply as Country SA PHN, but in country SA in general. Our PHN and our communities want what’s best for South Australian rural and remote communities and will work together to achieve this.

I encourage you all to view the Country SA PHN 2020-2021 Annual Report and read more about some of the great work we, and our collaborators, are doing to improve healthcare for the people of rural and remote South Australia.

I thank everyone involved for their commitment to the task at hand. This past year has been challenging, more so than at any other point in time and they have risen to the challenges.

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