Among the focus for Western Sydney Primary Health Network and our partners, has been the development of strategies which seek to address chronic disease prevention and management through better coordination and integration of services between the primary (general practice) and acute (hospital) sectors.
What are Chronic Diseases?
Chronic diseases are characterised by complex causality, multiple risk factor, long latency periods, a prolonged course of illness and functional impairment or disability. Most chronic diseases don’t resolve spontaneously and are generally not cured completely. Chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and asthma are amongst the leading causes of death and disability in Australia. The most socially disadvantaged areas often have the highest prevalence of chronic diseases. The rate of chronic disease in Western Sydney is quite high with diabetes being higher across many areas in Western Sydney, compared to the national diabetes prevalence rate.
With Western Sydney regarded as a diabetes hotspot, the need for a coordinated and whole-of-system approach to its prevention and management was recognised by the community. Working in partnership, the Western Sydney Primary Health Network, along with Western Sydney Local Health District, consumers and health professionals, established the Western Sydney Diabetes (WSD) Alliance to reduce the burden of the condition. WSD initiatives include routine HbA1c screening, Joint Specialist Case Conferencing and GP Walking Groups. More information is available on our Western Sydney Diabetes webpage. Additional programs we provide are:
Offering nurses of local practices extended training in diabetes management to enhance the support of GPs in the ongoing management of their patients.
A monthly Diabetes Support Group is available for community members living with diabetes and their carers. Each meeting focuses on a different aspect of diabetes management and features a guest speaker. The next support group has been cancelled due to COVID-19. For more information on when the support group will continue, email Cathryn Ward.
Delivered to people in Western Sydney who have pre-diabetes or are in the early stages of type 2 diabetes, Shared Medical Appointments (SMA) are consecutive individual medical visits carried out in a supportive group setting of similar patients where all can listen, interact and learn. The program will be delivered in six general practices in Western Sydney to develop and trial an SMA package in pre-diabetes and early-stage type 2 diabetes prevention, mitigation and management.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and Diabetes Australia have united to support GPs in their management of type 2 diabetes through Management of type 2 diabetes: a handbook for general practice.
Western Sydney has the fourth highest prevalence of hepatitis B in the country with an estimated 13,089 people living with chronic hepatitis B. Only 19% of people living with hepatitis C have initiated treatment, making the region the second-lowest in NSW.
With effective treatments available to help manage hepatitis B and cure hepatitis C, Australia is leading the way for a future without viral hepatitis.
We’re working collaboratively with the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) to address the burden of viral hepatitis by supporting health professionals and community members across Western Sydney.
We also have a range of free resources on hepatitis treatment available online. Health professionals can access Western Sydney HealthPathways (username and password required) and community members can access Healthy Western Sydney.
Fitness and Physical Activity Initiatives
To provide accessible exercise to the Western Sydney community and address low levels of physical activity and high rates of obesity, we partnered with Live Life Get Active (LLGA) to run 11 free fitness camps in our region. Sessions are available for yoga, boxing or cross-training, and generally run for 45 minutes in the following locations:
- Castle Hill
- Mount Druitt
- Rouse Hill
- South Granville
LLGA is now also providing free weekly scheduled classes that are live-streamed for you and your family, to ensure you keep active and healthy at the comfort of your own home. To be a part of the exercise classes make sure you register to become a member and book a zoom class online. Visit their website for more information.
We’ve partnered with the Heart Foundation to introduce patient-lead GP walking groups aimed at improving overall patient health. These walking groups are an inexpensive and effective method of encouraging people to increase their physical activity which can help prevent and manage diabetes, reduce the risk of heart disease and manage their weight.
Currently due to COVID-19 the GP walking groups are on hold, until further notice. Visit the Health Foundation website for more information on how to remain active during this time.
General Practice Pharmacist
The Western Sydney General Practice Pharmacist Program involves the integration of pharmacists into general practices in Western Sydney to work collaboratively as part of the patient care team and forms part of a collaborative, patient-centred primary care model. The project was designed in partnership with the University of Sydney and is supported by the Western Sydney Local Health District.
A General Practice Pharmacist (GPP) is a non-dispensing pharmacist who delivers clinical and education services to patients within the general practice setting. The GPP is integrated as a member of the patient care team to foster true team-based care and support the Patient Centred Medical Home principles. Their role complements the dispensing role undertaken by community pharmacists but can bring core pharmacist skills into the general practice setting.
Progressing Health Now
Find out more about other Programs and Priorities for Western Sydney.