31 August 2023

The Department of Health and Aged Care’s Pregnancy Support Counselling initiative provides for Medicare benefits to be paid for non-directive pregnancy support counselling services provided to a person who is:

  • pregnant; or
  • has been pregnant in the preceding 12 months

GPs are eligible to bill once they have completed the required course.

Non-directive counselling

Non-directive counselling is a form of counselling based on the understanding that, in many situations, people can resolve their own problems without being provided with a solution by the counsellor.

The counsellor’s role is to encourage the person to express their feelings but not suggest what decision the person should make.

By listening and reflecting back what the person reveals to them, the counsellor helps them to explore and understand their feelings.

With this understanding, the person is able to make the decision which is best for them.

The service involves the GP undertaking a safe, confidential process which helps the patient explore concerns they have about a current pregnancy or a pregnancy which occurred in the preceding 12 months.

This includes providing, on request, unbiased, evidence-based information about all options and services available to the patient.

Minimum requirements

Non-directive counselling may only be provided by a GP who has completed appropriate non-directive pregnancy counselling training.

Please see below for further information:

Available courses accessible via gplearning (gpl.racgp.org.au). A login is required:

16 May 2023

South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) Maternity Services is undertaking the Antenatal Redesign Project to improve the provision of safe, equitable care which is accessible to all women, and broaden the implementation of first trimester screening.

The project team would like to hear from GPs about their experiences with antenatal shared care and ideas on how to improve systems and processes between GPs and local hospitals.

Feedback can be given via an online focus group or a one-on-one interview.

Three working parties have been established as part of the project, and each include GPs from across the region.

The first working party is focused on consumer information and engagement, with the priority being women receiving timely and culturally specific information.

The second working party has an emphasis on the referral processes, with the last working party focusing on the coordination of first trimester screening for all women in SWSLHD.

Online focus groups sessions will be held on:

  • Monday, 22 May: 30pm to 1.30pm
  • Wednesday, 24 May: 12.30pm to 1.30pm
  • Monday, 29 May: 7pm to 8pm
  • Friday, 9 June: 12.30pm to 1.30pm

If you have any questions about the focus groups or would like to be involved, please contact Nicole Grieg – Antenatal Redesign Project Manager – via Nicole.grieg@health.nsw.gov.au or 0419 440 943.

23 March 2023

We’re looking into women’s experiences accessing pregnancy care via GP shared care in South Western Sydney.

In the last 12 months have you:

Had pregnancy care in South Western Sydney with a GP?

AND

Given birth in a South Western Sydney public hospital?

If so, we would like to hear from you.

Download flyer to find out more
02 March 2023

The University of Melbourne is looking for GPs to participate in a focus group to help evaluate a digital antenatal psychosocial screening tool.

The digital screening and clinical decision support tool aims to help GPs identify and respond to psychosocial risk factors in pregnancy, such as

  • alcohol and substance use
  • exposure to domestic and family violence
  • experiences of poor mental health

GPs are required to participate in a 45 to 60-minute focus group evaluation, where you will be shown a demonstration of a prototype antenatal psychosocial screening tool, and then be asked to provide feedback on what works and what wouldn’t work in your general practice context.

How to participate

If you would like to participate in this project, or would like more information, please email antenatal-screen@unimelb.edu.au

27 February 2023

Baked goods from grateful patients is one of the perks of being a GP in Bowral, according to Highlands General Practice’s Dr Harshinie Jayamanna. Dr Jayamanna’s particular interests are paediatric and palliative care. She is also an accredited Antenatal Shared Care provider.

How long have you been a GP and how long have you been practising in the Southern Highlands/Bowral LGA?

I’ve been a GP for four-and-a-half years, and in the Southern Highlands for the same amount of time, including three-and-a-half years at Highlands General Practice in Bowral. I now also work at Schwarz Family Practice in Elderslie.

When/why did you decide you wanted to become a GP?

I had always wanted to do obstetrics and gynaecology, but changed to anaesthesiology, which I did for 13 years back home in Sri Lanka.

But when you see a patient in hospital, you’re always saying ‘follow up with your GP’ and you never see them again. GPs are able to provide more comprehensive care. The patients come to their GP, and you are able to coordinate their care. As a GP, you get to know the person and what’s happening around them, you see whole families.

I like antenatal care. I see mothers and babies for things like vaccinations. Many of my first patients are four years old now. It’s amazing to see.

Being a GP is so community focused, you make connections with people and feel like you are doing something positive for them, that you can save a life. I liked hospital work as well, but as a GP you provide broader care and look after the whole person,

What do you love most about being a GP/what part of the job gives you the most satisfaction?

Seeing patients getting better, especially children – you know when they’re better, they’re really better, they can’t pretend to be ill.

I like paediatrics most, I feel very comfortable looking after children and delivering things like vaccines. I also like to provide chronic care. I’d say my main interests are paediatrics and palliative care.

I also enjoy engaging with lots of different people.

Bowral is a very special community, everyone knows everyone. You link in well with the hospital and the specialists are very helpful – they are just one call away with advice if you are stuck with something.

I’ve been with Schwarz Family Practice since December and it’s also a lovely place to work.

The whole team is friendly and helpful, and it’s easy to work when everyone agrees with the current Australian recommendations, especially when it comes to prescribing medications (S8).

What is the most important thing you/your practice contributes to this community?

Chronic disease management is well co-ordinated at our practice. We have a special nurse specifically for chronic disease management. It’s very comprehensive, so we won’t miss anything.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to spend time with my children.

I like cooking and entertaining guests. I like reading, cycling with my children when with the weather permits, and I love to travel, not that I’ve done that during the last three years.

What do you love most about Southern Highlands/Bowral?

The area! The community is very friendly.

There’s an older population here, although that’s changing now because people are moving into rural areas like Bowral because of COVID and I’m getting to see lots of new families.

I especially like caring for the older population of Bowral, they’re really lovely and do things like baking for us all the time and sending cards.

I’ve found Schwartz to be a similar practice.

What advice do you give your patients about maintaining good health?

Eat healthy and exercise.

I say to young people, avoid dangerous, risky activities. Things like vaping. We have lots of young people coming in who don’t know how to stop.

I also say talk to your GP, especially about things like your mental health, we are always here to help.

16 February 2023

GPs are being urged to help raise awareness in their pregnant patients of the importance in making their first hospital antenatal booking appointment by 12 weeks gestation. 

First trimester bookings benefits:

  • Early care planning
  • Identification of women with specific needs or risk factors
  • Commencement of treatments that are most effective early in the pregnancy
  • Continuity of carer
  • Better pregnancy outcomes and satisfaction

Find out about Antenatal Shared Care

06 December 2022

SWSPHN joined South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) for the recent official launch of the First 2000 Days initiative, a strategy aimed at giving all children 0 to five-years the best start in life.

Our Chief Executive Officer, Dr Keith McDonald PhD, Director of Planning and Performance, Amy Prince, and other PHN staff attended the gathering at Western Sydney University’s Macarthur Clinical School in Campbelltown.

The First 2000 Days strategy aims to:

  • Improve care and access to care at general practice and hospitals
  • Continue to improve GP knowledge through relevant CPD opportunities
  • Improve maternal health by:
    • Identifying women with gestational diabetes and/or preeclampsia
    • Reducing smoking in women and alcohol consumption
    • Improving obesity rates in children and education
  • Improve immunisation rates
  • Work with women to reduce domestic violence

Dr Nicole Hall, a GP from Wattle Grove Family Medical Practice and co-chair of the SWSPHN/ SWSLHD Antenatal Shared Care (ANSC) Operations Group, spoke on behalf of SWSPHN.

There are currently 370 ANSC-recognised providers within the region, working across 445 medical practices delivering care in multiple languages. 

Dr Hall emphasised the importance of GP-care from as early as pre-conception and conception, antenatal and postnatal care, continuing through to childhood and all other stages of life.

Dr Hall highlighted points including:

  • GPs are at the heart of every referral 
  • GPs are the primary immunisers for pregnant women and children within the first 2000 days 
  • SWSPHN encourages GPs to record height/weight through our Quality Improvement in Primary Care program 
  • SWSPHN supports GPs and practice nurses in providing quality paediatric care via: 
  • CPD events for paediatric conditions 
  • Ongoing CPD in relation to ANSC throughout the year 
  • SWSPHN, in partnership with SWSLHD, provides clinical guidance and referral information via HealthPathways
  • SWSPHN provides information to the community on common developmental and paediatric conditions, as well as local services via Heath Resource Directory. This is provided in four languages and audio formats 

SWSPHN has been implementing the First 2000 Days strategies since 2019 but COVID-19 delayed the official launch of the initiative.

 


 

This article appeared in Practice Pulse on Wednesday, 7 December 2022. If you are a GP, practice nurse or practice manager in South Western Sydney and do not get the weekly Practice Pulse email, speak to your Practice Support Officer.

06 December 2022

Dr Nicole Hall from Wattle Grove Family Medical Practice is committed to helping women and their families during pregnancy and the first few years of the baby’s life through her work as a GP, a GP VMO at Liverpool Hospital in high-risk obstetric care, and as co-chair of the SWSPHN/SWSLHD Antenatal Shared Care Operations Group.

How long have you been a GP and how long have you been practising in Wattle Grove/ Liverpool LGA?

I received my GP Fellowship in 2015. I was an intern and resident at Bankstown and Campbelltown Hospitals, and did a significant part of my GP training here in Wattle Grove.

When/why did you decide you wanted to become a GP?

General practice was a natural career choice for me. Even during medical school I knew I would become a GP. I love the continuity of care, getting to know patients, and feeling as though you can make a big difference in their lives.

I also love the flexibility which comes with being a GP. There are so many possible career pathways, and I have been lucky enough to explore some of these as a GP Visiting Medical Officer in obstetrics at Liverpool Hospital.

What do you love most about being a GP/what part of the job gives you the most satisfaction?

I get the most job satisfaction looking after women during pregnancy, especially if they have had difficulty falling pregnant, and then looking after them during the first few years of their baby’s life. This can be a very challenging time and I love being able to help women and their families during this time. I have also been very lucky over the years to be involved with research for stillbirth which I have found very rewarding, namely being involved in the development and roll-out of the Safer Baby Bundle.

With the obesity rates in South Western Sydney climbing, I also love helping patients with weight management, and looking at the joy on their faces when they realise how much weight they have lost and how much better their blood pressure and blood parameters are.

What is the most important thing you/your practice contributes to this community?

Wattle Grove Family Medical Practice has been around for a number of years, founded by my colleague Dr John Stanford. It is a very well-respected practice and has been helping the local community for a number of years. In particular, we spend a lot of time with defence families, who often have difficulties with medical care as they move around so much.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I have two young children, aged five and three, who keep me busy! I love gardening, cooking, and bush walking with my children and dog.  

What do you love most about Wattle Grove/ Liverpool LGA?

Wattle Grove is such a beautiful area to work in. We have a beautiful patient base. The patients are genuinely thankful for the care we provide to them. Working at Liverpool Hospital has also been very rewarding, being able to help a patient population of socio-economic disadvantage. Helping these women is extremely rewarding. 

What advice do you give your patients about maintaining good health?

Good health has many facets to it. This includes physical health, which can be obtained by regular exercise, but also participating in activities which people enjoy. There is also the mental health aspect, and it is so important to focus on the things in your life you appreciate – spending time with friends, spending time in the outdoors. It is also important to check in with your GP if you ever feel as though your health is not as good as it could be. COVID-19 has been a very challenging time for people, and I still feel as though we are seeing the ramifications of this.

 


 

This article appeared in Practice Pulse on Wednesday, 7 December 2022. If you are a GP, practice nurse or practice manager in South Western Sydney and do not get the weekly Practice Pulse email, speak to your Practice Support Officer.

02 September 2022

Liverpool Hospital’s P2 car park (off Campbell Street) will permanently close from 6am on Thursday, 15 September, and will be replaced with the new P2 car park, with access via Burnside Drive.

Learn more

Download the visitor’s map

Public access:

  • Visitors will be required to use the new P2 car park for hospital parking, accessible between 6am to 10pm daily, via Burnside Drive
  • Hospital access from the car park will be via Entrance J, open 24 hours
  • P3 car park remains available for public parking, accessible between 6am to 10pm daily, via Burnside Drive

Learn more about Precinct Updates

28 July 2022

All inpatient maternity services are now located in Campbelltown Hospital’s Clinical Building (Building A).

Information about accessing the services can be found below.

Birthing Unit A41

Please call prior to arrival on 4634 4099

Between 6am–9pm enter via the main entrance of the building (Level 2), enter the lifts to your left and proceed to Level 4.

The entry to the Birthing unit is near the lifts, use the intercom button 2 to speak with staff for entry.

From 9pm–6am enter via Emergency Department entrance, and you will be escorted to Birthing Unit.

There is limited parking in P1 (outside emergency), otherwise parking P2 or P3 for access to the clinical building.

Antenatal Ward A42

Enter the main entrance of the building (Level 2), enter the lifts to your left and proceed to Level 4.

The entry to the Antenatal ward is near the lifts, use the intercom button 1 to speak with staff for entry.

Visiting Hours: 8am–8pm

Postnatal Ward A52

Enter the main entrance of the building (Level 2), enter the lifts to your left and proceed to Level 5.

The entry to the Postnatal Ward is near the lifts, use the intercom button 1 to speak with staff for entry.

Visiting Hours: 8am–8pm

Special Care Nursery A51

Enter the main entrance of the building (Level 2) enter the lifts to your left and proceed to Level 5.

The entry to the Special Care Nursery is near the lifts, use the intercom button 2 to speak with staff for entry.

Perioperative Unit

For planned Caesarean admissions.

Enter via the main entrance.  Walk straight ahead towards the stairs, enter the lifts to the left of the stairs and go down to Ground level. Exit the lift and turn right.

If you are bringing frozen breastmilk, please go to Postnatal first to store it in the freezer.

Download the flyer