23 May 2023
Ken McCroary and Kristen Short

GPs and non-GP specialists had the opportunity to network and learn from each other at the inaugural Breaking Down the Silos in South Western Sydney dinner at Rydges Campbelltown on Tuesday, 9 May.

Sydney South West GP Link Chair, Dr Kenneth McCroary, organised the event to encourage the development of broader networking opportunities, provide participants with an opportunity to enhance their capacity and skills, and to breakdown the silos between disparate groups.

The event saw health colleagues introducing themselves to each other over dinner, listening to insightful presentations, and taking part in discussions about the challenges faced by healthcare providers and developing solutions to those challenges.

SWSPHN Acting Chief Executive Officer, Kristen Short, and South Western Sydney Local Health District Acting Chief Executive, Sonia Marshall, gave a well-received presentation on the evening, which provided an overview of the silos within local health services, the impact of silos on patient care and outcomes, and the introduction of strategies to break down silos.

Dr Tim Senior a specialist GP and Dr Andrew McDonald a specialist paediatrician provided an example of GP and non-GP specialists working together at Tharawal Aboriginal Medical Services to improve the health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples our region.

Special guest Dr Charlotte Hespe, Chair of the NSW Faculty of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, and Dr Michael Tam, Deputy Chair of Sydney South West GP Link, also joined a panel discussion of four speakers.

Attendees showed particular interest in discussions relating to information technology, and solutions such as Lumos and iRAD, and communication deficits and plans to improve the collaboration between practitioners locally and across the state to improve health outcomes.

Dr McCroary said it had been amazing the way local healthcare providers came together during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect and support our community to deal with day-to-day changes, particularly during vaccine rollouts and curfew periods.

“A fear I have, though, is that post pandemic these team care community-minded cooperative systems will break down and revert to pre-pandemic health silos,” he said.

“One of the roles of our event was to highlight the importance of breaking down these silos and encourage ongoing cooperation on the ground.”

Dr McCroary welcomed the “incredibly positive” feedback on the event by attendees which included: 

“I felt inspired by all the passionate medical colleagues in the room.”

“Very interesting insight into the structure of primary care in Australia and relationship between general practice and specialist services in Sydney.”

“Excellent topics. Great networking.”

“Let’s keep thinking about systems to encourage patient centred care but also what you can contribute, how you can go out of your way to break the silos and create a collective team.”

“It was great to look at challenges of developing relationships and systems to improve communication.”

If you’re not a member of GP Link already or would like to learn more, visit the Sydney South West GP Link website.