18 June 2024

The RACGP is hosting Our Woven Ways: Supporting goal setting with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents on Thursday, 25 July, from 7pm to 8.30pm.

GPs and other primary healthcare professionals who work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families are invited to attend.

The webinar is part of a series which discuss the practice skills required to effectively work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents to explore and respond to their concerns about their children’s social and emotional wellbeing.

Register for webinar

Below are links to recordings of previous webinars in the series:

More general practice resources, including accredited eLearning courses and webinar recordings, can be found at this GP toolkit.

04 June 2024

Expressions of Interest open

GPs and general practice staff are invited to express their interest in undertaking a RACGP CPD-accredited online cultural awareness module at no cost.

SWSPHN is funding up to 20 places for non-RACGP members.

The introduction to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural awareness in general practice activity aims to improve the health of First Nations peoples by enhancing the cultural awareness of GPs, general practice staff, medical students, primary healthcare staff and other healthcare providers.

The module is a total of six hours – 3 CPD educational activity hours and 3 CPD reviewing performance hours. Participants have one month to complete the module from the date they receive their login details from the RACGP.

If you and your practice staff are interested, please provide the following information:

  • full name
  • practice
  • position within practice
  • email address
  • mobile or other contact number

Email the details to SWSPHN Integration and Priority Populations Team Lead Natalie Robson at Natalie.Robson@swsphn.com.au

27 May 2024

Victim-survivors shared stories of their recovery journeys and what gives them hope, at this month’s official launch of the Supporting Recovery from Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Program at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in Liverpool.

Delivered by CatholicCare Sydney and Anglicare Sydney, the Supporting Recovery program addresses the critical need for comprehensive support services for victim-survivors of family, domestic and sexual violence (FDSV) in our region.

The Department of Health and Aged Care has funded South Western Sydney Primary Health Network (SWSPHN) and five other PHNs, to deliver the $67 million Supporting Recovery pilot program.

The program aims to address the current FDSV mental health recovery service gaps by offering long-term recovery support which complements existing short-term and crisis support programs.

SWSPHN Amy Price speaking at the Supporting Recovery launch
SWSPHN Director of Planning and Performance, Amy Prince speaking at the Supporting Recovery launch.

SWSPHN Director of Planning and Performance, Amy Prince, spoke during the event about the urgency and importance of the program for our region.

“In South Western Sydney last year, unfortunately, there were around 5,200 domestic violence-related assault offences. The areas of Campbelltown, Liverpool and Fairfield have the highest representation, but we know many more cases go unreported,” she said.

“Last year, SWSPHN had the opportunity to apply for grant funding from the Department of Health and Aged Care to deliver the Supporting Recovery program. We were one of just six PHNs selected, and we are so grateful to be able to bring this service into South Western Sydney, as we know it’s very much needed here.

“I’m really proud to be part of an organisation that’s been able to fund this service, and I really look forward to seeing the program achieve positive outcomes for victim-survivors in our region.”.

The Supporting Recovery program is designed to provide comprehensive, trauma-informed care for victim-survivors of FDSV.

Panel at the Supporting Recovery launch
Panel discussion at the Supporting Recovery launch

One of the panellists emphasised the significant positive impact of programs like the Supporting Recovery program.

“I’m living in recovery from complex PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) from generational trauma, so I believe passionately that domestic violence services like this one are vital for the safety and healing of those of us trying to live and heal from domestic and sexual violence,” the panellist told the crowd.

“I have hope because I get to talk to people about these things. When I was growing up, we didn’t have the words for it.”

Attendees also heard from a First Nations person and survivor advocate about providing cultural safety and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander FDSV victim-survivors.

“You need to remember it takes a lot for Aboriginal people to be able to trust other services and people because of their past history. It’s about active listening, so use your approach as a yarning rather than talking across or to someone,” the crowd was told.

“It’s about having that understanding about us, making us feel safe so we can open up to you because we will very rarely ask for help from anyone unless it’s really necessary.”

 
Werriwa MP Anne Stanley at the Supporting Recovery launch
Werriwa MP Anne Stanley at the Supporting Recovery launch

Werriwa MP Anne Stanley was also in attendance at the launch event on behalf of Emma McBride, the Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.

“This pilot comes at a time when family and domestic violence is reaching a boiling point in our society, and it’s about time it has come to the national spotlight,” she said.

Find out more about the program

 

If you are currently experiencing family, domestic and sexual violence and need crisis support, call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).

If you are in immediate danger, call the police on 000.

 

16 April 2024

Expressions of Interest open

GPs and general practice staff are invited to express their interest in undertaking a RACGP CPD-accredited online cultural awareness module at no cost.

SWSPHN is funding up to 20 places for non-RACGP members.

The introduction to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural awareness in general practice activity aims to improve the health of First Nations peoples by enhancing the cultural awareness of GPs, general practice staff, medical students, primary healthcare staff and other healthcare providers.

The module is a total of six hours – 3 CPD educational activity hours and 3 CPD reviewing performance hours. Participants have one month to complete the module from the date they receive their login details from the RACGP.

If you and your practice staff are interested, please provide the following information:

  • full name
  • practice
  • position within practice
  • email address
  • mobile or other contact number

Email the details to SWSPHN Integration and Priority Populations Coordinator Ivan Broome at Ivan.Broome@swsphn.com.au.

11 April 2024

SWSPHN, Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) and Yarpa Hub came together with Elders and community members to recognise and raise awareness of end-of-life planning during Advance Care Planning Week.

Patsy Bingham, an End of Life Doula, was at the Advance Care Yarning Session to talk about the importance of having an advance care plan and letting your mob know your healthcare and end-of-life wishes before it’s too late.

The Advance Care Yarning Session helped to relieve the stigma around talking about end-of-life planning. It also allowed Elders and community members to come together, ask questions, and have a yarn about advance care planning in a safe and culturally informative space.

Advance care planning helps ensure your mob knows what care decisions to make when you are no longer able to communicate these yourself.

For helpful resources on end-of-life planning visit End-of-life planning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

 

Caption: SWSPHN’s Integration & Priority Populations Coordinator Ivan Broome with Gandangara LALC staff at the Advance Care Yarning Session.

 

End-of-life planning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

When you let your mob know of your healthcare and end-of-life wishes in advance, you relieve them of the burden of making these difficult decisions without knowing exactly what you would want. For instance, what healthcare you would agree to receive? Do you want to be taken back to country when you pass?

The resources here help relieve the stigma around talking about end-of-life, from advance care planning to palliative care. These resources are for people who live in Gandangara and Tharawal country.

 

Resources on this page include:

  • Yarning Our Wishes

Advance Care Planning guide

  • A Journey into Sorry Business

Palliative care support information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in South Western Sydney

  • Advance care yarning

This booklet provides scenarios where having an advance care plan in place is beneficial, and how to setup an advance care plan.

  • Discussion Starter

Use this booklet, developed by Palliative Care Australia and Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives, to document what is important to you.

05 March 2024

Patients at Tharawal Aboriginal Medical Service now have a clearer picture of how healthy their liver is.

Clinical Nurse Consultant, Irena, from South Western Sydney Local Health District’s Hepatology Service visited the Airds centre on Thursday, 29 February and performed 29 liver fibroscans.

The fibroscan sends a pulse through the liver, a bit like an ultrasound, to measure the stiffness of the liver.

This involves putting a probe between the ribs on the right-hand side of the chest and pushing a button which delivers a vibration into the liver.

Stiffness in the liver indicates scarring.

The higher the score, the more likely the liver has fibrosis or cirrhosis.

  • 5 to 7.4 suggests minimal fibrosis
  • 7.5 to 9.4 suggests moderate fibrosis
  • 9.5 or higher suggests severe fibrosis or cirrhosis

Yearly fibroscans are recommended for patients with abnormal liver function tests.

GPs can refer patients to liver specialists at Liverpool Hospital’s Department of Gastroenterology and Liver for:

  • Fibroscan/Shear Wave Elastography
  • Viral Hepatitis or other Chronic Liver Disease
  • Cirrhosis (compensated/decompensated)
  • Unexplained marked liver function test derangement
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma (suspected or confirmed)

Referral form templates are available here

CAPTION: Irena performs the quick and painless fibroscan on patient Margaret.

24 January 2024

The Go4Fun healthy lifestyle program for families and children aged seven to 13 is returning with sessions across South Western Sydney in Term 1, from Monday, 29 January 2024.

Locations include:

  • Cabramatta Community Centre 
  • Bankstown PCYC 
  • Moss Vale Aquatic Centre 
  • Eagle Vale Leisure Centre 
  • Michael Clarke Recreation Centre 
  • Mt Annan Leisure Centre 

You can register by phoning 1800 780 900 or visiting go4fun.com.au.

What is Go4Fun?

Go4Fun is a free program for children aged seven to 13 who are above a healthy weight, and their families. Trained health and community professionals like dietitians and exercise physiologists run the program which is a fun way to build self-esteem and learn about eating well, staying active and living a healthy life.

Go4Fun takes place during school terms, usually after school. Sessions run once a week for two hours, during a 10-week period. A parent or carer must come to every session.

Find out more about what's involved

Aboriginal Go4Fun

Aboriginal Go4Fun was developed in partnership with Aboriginal communities and is delivered by local Aboriginal organisations together with NSW Health. The program encourages the whole community to join in.

Aboriginal Go4Fun includes:

  • Aboriginal support staff
  • Traditional Indigenous games
  • Tailored resources
Find out more about Aboriginal Go4Fun

Go4Fun online

Go4Fun Online is perfect for families that can’t make it to our face-to-face program, but still want to make health changes to their lifestyle.

Go4Fun Online runs over 10 weeks and includes:

  • Weekly online activity sessions
  • Weekly phone coaching with a health professional
  • Resources and prizes
  • Our online community where you can chat to other families in the program
  • Email and text message support
Find out more about Go4Fun online
28 November 2023

A six-month cancer screening incentive scheme in South Western Sydney has wound up, with a final progress report highlighting positive responses from the community and several success stories.

SWSPHN partnered with Gandangara Health Services (GHS) in March to promote cancer awareness and screenings among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

The incentive scheme contributed to detecting potential cancers among community members, and other concerns including hepatitis C.

Giftcards were offered as an incentive to encourage engagement and participation in screenings for breast cancer, cervical cancer, bowel cancer and hepatitis C, and skin checks and vaccinations.

One female who attended the breast screening morning tea was recalled for further testing. With the encouragement of clinic staff, she went to a follow-up appointment and was booked in for emergency surgery.

The woman said she was grateful to the team for inviting her to the screening and taking swift and decisive follow-up action.

A male attended a skin clinic and during his screening had several growths removed. The gentleman held a common misconception people with darker skin didn’t have to worry about skin cancer. He was surprised he had suspicious skin growths and was thankful they were detected early. The man said if he hadn’t come to the accompanying barbecue and booked into the skin check clinic, he would never have gotten checked.

GHS used community engagement and regular gathering opportunities to promote the cancer screening incentive scheme and encourage attendance.

A community gathering in August had a cancer awareness theme, breast screening coincided with an educational Yarning Circle, cervical self-test screening was held in conjunction with an education pamper day and community gathering, and barbecues were great opportunities for skin checks.

16 November 2023

SWSPHN staff attended the Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council Caring for Elders Expo 2023 at the Liverpool Catholic Club this week. The expo was a special gathering focused on celebrating and supporting our Elders, who hold immense wisdom and cultural significance in our community.

SWSPHN Integration and Priority Populations Coordinator Ivan Broome and Workforce Engagement Officer Marina Hagarty attended the event to highlight the aged care services available in our region. They also represented SWSPHN as proud sponsors of this meaningful event.

The Elders Expo centred around the theme ‘Strong Mind – Strong Body – Strong Spirit’ and offered various resources for health wellness and cultural healing opportunities.

The event featured:

  • Health, wellness and aged care service providers
  • Information on ageing well and aged care support
  • Pampering, massage and barber stations
  • Elder Message Stick Exhibition
  • Craft Corner
  • Live music performances
  • Informative health talks

Find out more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

 

 
21 September 2023

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children experience some of the highest rates of Otitis Media and associated hearing loss in the world.

Otitis Media is commonly known as ‘glue ear’ in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Left untreated, these conditions are directly linked to serious and long-term deficits. These include poor medical health, delayed communication and social skill development, challenging behaviour and learning difficulties.

With the COVID-19 lockdowns behind us, now is the time to complete crucial checks for children including:

  • regular ear checks
  • hearing assessments
  • onward referrals to ENTs / audiologists
Information for families

 

This article was written by members of the ‘Stronger Seeds, Taller Trees’ project which includes professionals from a number of government and non-government organisations in South Western Sydney. The group aims to support GPs working with families to navigate and access timely services when they have a concern about a child’s development.