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A novel approach to healthcare is injecting new hope in New England

Glen Innes Health Hub

A Better Health for the Bush Initiative

The Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network (HNECC PHN or the PHN) exists to enhance accessibility and equity of access to primary health care services to the community.

In partnership with the Local Health District and The University of New England, the PHN has developed the “Better Health for the Bush” Framework. The framework has two models of care; the Comprehensive Approach for Rural Engagement (CARE) Model; and the Small – Town Engagement (STEM) Model. These models can be tailored and adapted to different rural communities and their needs.

The place-based and patient-centred CARE model will be piloted through the introduction of the Glen Innes Health Hub.

The Glen Innes Health Hub will look to establish a rural multi-disciplinary health team consisting of General Practitioners, Allied Health Clinicians, Nurses, Medical and Allied Health students, Clinical Assistants and Care Navigators.

The delivery of primary health care services will be provided through face-to-face and/or a hybrid of face-to-face and telehealth services. To ensure holistic patient care, a care navigator will connect patients with external health services: specialists, hospitals, pharmacies, and social services. This empowers patients to better understand how to navigate the health and social services system.

The model also incorporates a medical and allied health student pipeline provided through the University of New England Faculty of Health and Medicine. This will allow students to undertake their placements and deliver primary care under appropriate regulatory supervision.

The Health Hub will leverage innovative, digitally enabled solutions. This forward-thinking approach aims to create a sustainable and supportive environment for health care providers and will assist in improving equity of access.

This model also involves implementing a co-operative, member owned, not-for-profit governance structure to foster community ownership and investment. This will also allow the service to evolve to meet the changing health needs of the region, whilst being stable and economically viable.

The local consultation process around this innovative model of care began in 2019 in collaboration with Hunter New England Local Health District (HNE LHD), local Glen Innes GPs, other local health professionals and community stakeholders.

An Innovative Models of Care (IMOC) Program, Department of Health and Ageing Grant of $1.5 million, has enabled the model to be piloted in Glen Innes over 2023-2027.

Intensive community consultation is continuing and with an approximate Health Hub opening in the second half of 2024.

Visit the Better Health for the Bush website
Grey Street Glen Innes
Young male community healthcare worker being welcomed by a senior man at his home

Hear from Better Health for the Bush

Dr Alison Koschel, Executive Manager Populations, Access and Performance, Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network (HNECC PHN), shared:

“One of the biggest things we’ve learned is the community needs to be engaged, the community needs to buy into this, and the community needs to own it.”

“We’ve had many reminders that the solution without engaging the community will give us the same as we’ve already got.”

“We can’t keep going with the same approach we’ve had with general practice. We know that it’s been getting worse over the last 40 years and if we continue to do the same, we’ll continue to get the same.”

“The change we want to see is to think differently and provide an innovative approach to address this crisis, to join up health and social care and put the community first.”

“We have a vision for a hub that’s a central focus point of primary healthcare, where everyone feels welcome, and their needs are met.”

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