Following the new partnership agreement between IFIC Australia and Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD), Victoria Nesire, of WSLHD, talks Intergated Care and how the partnership will strengthen the commitment to improve the health and wellbeing of people.
“Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) is proud to be a new member of the International Foundation for Integrated Care (IFIC). Improving the way health and social policy service partners work together to improve the health and wellbeing of our population is a high priority in western Sydney. We have strong leadership within both the Local Health District and Primary Health Network and robust partnerships with health, social policy agencies and the community.
Western Sydney serves the second largest and fastest growing population in NSW and is expected to reach around 1.2 million people by 2026. The population is culturally diverse, has one of the largest urban Aboriginal populations in NSW, and local communities range from socioeconomically advantaged to the most disadvantaged. The District is responsible for providing the public health services within its boundaries and is a leader in contemporary health care delivery. Services span general and specialist health care services, as well as statewide and national specialty services. Over 14,500 staff provide services across five teaching hospitals, an extensive network of community health centres, in people’s homes and other community locations.
On March 21st 2018. Western Sydney formalised a partnership with the IFIC and became a member of the IFIC Australian Chapter. Danny O’Connor, WSLHD CEO, joined Nick Goodwin, IFIC CEO, David Perkins, Director at the Centre for Rural & Remote Mental Health, and key leaders from WSLHD, IFIC, WentWest and Price Waterhouse Cooper, in the formal signing of the partnership agreement, and discussions on Western Sydney’s opportunities to contribute to the growth of Integrated Care across Australia.
Robust partnerships have been formalised with a number of agencies including WentWest – Western Sydney Primary Health Network (WWPHN), and the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, and a range of social policy agencies as part of Service Delivery Reform including Dept. Premiers and Cabinet, Western Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains District Family and Community Services (FACS), Education, Juvenile Justice and Police.
This new partnership with IFIC strengthens our commitment to Integrated Care in Australia.
At the core of the Western Sydney Integrated Care program is a strong and enduring partnership between Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) and the Western Sydney Primary Health Network (WentWest) with a shared commitment towards system reform, based on the quadruple aims and improving capacity of primary care to better manage chronic conditions.
Western Sydney were one of the three sites in NSW to roll out the demonstrator programs as part of the NSW Integrated Care Strategy. Program includes: increasing capacity of local GPs, joint-specialist case conferencing, shared care plans, GP support line, care facilitators and rapid access to specialist services. The LHD has recently committed this program as business as usual.
A lot of work has been undertaken in Western Sydney to develop better ways of integrating care and addressing population health, including the Integrated Health Partnership Framework (which prioritises the health of the following populations – aboriginal, mental, child and family, older persons and chronic and complex conditions).
Integrating health at a system, population and care level is a high priority for WSLHD. Addressing the health and health literacy of our population, moving services closer to home and delivering integrated care priorities are clearly articulated in the WSLHD Health Services Plan to 2026.
One of the biggest health burden challenges we face in western Sydney is diabetes. Not only are rates rising precipitously – in Australia we’ve gone from 1.5% of the population in the 90s to more than 6% today – it’s also a disease that exists largely in the community. Western Sydney is a diabetes hotspot, with an estimated 15% of our community living with the disease. In hospital, the situation is even more grim, with rates of 20%+ seen in our hospital patients, and recent research suggesting that this rate is going up by 1% per year. Within a decade we might be looking at a third of all patients coming into our hospital suffering from diabetes. The Western Sydney Diabetes Alliance now has over 80 partners with a solid plan in turning around the Diabetes hotspot in western Sydney.
The diabetes hotspot in western Sydney along with the rise in people living longer with chronic and complex conditions means that treating patients like we did in the 90s simply isn’t an option.
The design of health services needs to change to meet this rising health challenge. We can no longer wait until people are presenting to the emergency departments. The Western Sydney Diabetes and Integrated Care programs aim to lead the way in delivering new models for promoting health and wellbeing and providing better care in partnerships with others.
This includes a range of programs designed to slow the progression of diabetes through prevention and management and working with primary care for the better management of diabetes and other long term chronic conditions.
Victoria Nesire is Executive Director for Integrated and Community Health at Western Sydney Local Health District