05 June 2024

Research shows an individual in South Western Sydney is 2.6 times more likely to speak a language other than English, and 1.6 times more likely to be born in a country other than Australia, when compared to the rest of NSW. 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics states culturally and linguistically diverse communities report significant disparities in their healthcare experience, including: lower levels of agreement in feeling understood and supported by health providers; not having sufficient information to manage their health; not receiving enough social support to manage their health; being less likely to have a regular GP; and being more likely to go to a hospital emergency department when they need after-hours medical care.  

The culturally diverse nature of South Western Sydney presents unique opportunities to collaborate with a wide range of people.  

Embracing these opportunities is a priority for South Western Sydney PHN, which is actively developing innovative projects and activities to improve healthcare access and outcomes for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities.

A co-creation project currently underway aims to identify healthcare gaps across the region and then develop recommendations which will guide the commissioning of future services. 

The first step in the process has been to consult with healthcare and service providers, and multicultural and refugee communities to better understand their health needs. 

Over the course of several months, SWSPHN project team members conducted 16 interviews with GPs, service providers and allied health professionals.

They also ran a series of focus groups with the Vietnamese, Arabic, Mandarin and refugee communities, as well as conducting two surveys for consumers and providers. 

Discussion focused on identifying the health needs and risk factors for multicultural and refugee communities, as well as the barriers to accessing healthcare.

Team members also sought to identify the opportunity and priority areas to improve health outcomes. 

Chronic disease, domestic violence, infectious disease, and sexual and reproductive health issues were identified as significant issues and the barriers to care included language difficulties and cost of services. 

Priority areas included the need for improved access and quality of care, resources to improve health literacy, support for health professionals to deliver culturally safe care and further research and consultation to understand the health and service needs.   

SWSPHN took the information gathered during the initial consultations to develop three new initiatives:  

  • service navigator, a service which seeks to put people from vulnerable communities in contact with healthcare services   
  • community chronic disease education sessions for multicultural communities 
  • trauma informed care and domestic violence training for health providers  

The next step in the process, the co-design of the service navigator, is currently underway. The codesign sessions give people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds an opportunity to give feedback on the proposed services.

Find out about participating in the codesign of the service navigator


21 May 2024

Two groups in South Western Sydney have been identified as needing better support to access to healthcare:

  1. People who are homeless. This includes those sleeping rough, couch surfing or living in temporary housing.
  2. People speak a language other than English at home. This includes those from diverse cultural and/or religious backgrounds. These people may be born overseas and may be a refugee.

If you have personal experiences being homeless or are from a culturally diverse background, your input can help improve primary healthcare in South Western Sydney.

Your contribution will help design three new initiatives which will be funded by South Western Sydney PHN.

  1. Service Navigator a service which seeks to put people from these vulnerable communities in contact with healthcare services.
  2. Community chronic disease education sessions for multicultural communities
  3. Trauma informed care and domestic violence training for health providers


What to expect

You will attend three online co-design sessions via Zoom over three months. Each meeting will be one-hour long.

Co-design sessions are meetings where community members and other stakeholders, including health professionals, give feedback on a proposed product, service or policy.

You will share your experiences and suggestions to help develop the Service Navigator model.

Session dates:

Wednesday, 26 June 2024
Wednesday, 28 August 2024
Wednesday, 26 February 2025

Each one-hour session will take place in the afternoon at a time to be determined.

You will be paid $50 per session for your time.

Use the form below to register. A member of the project team will review your submission and send you an invitation with a link to the meeting via Zoom.

You will need access to Zoom

If you do not yet have access, here are three options:

Download the Zoom app onto your smartphone or tablet
Access Zoom via a web browser on a desktop computer

Check if your local library can assist you by providing access a desktop computer and a private space.
Canterbury Bankstown Library services
Camden Libraries
Campbelltown Libraries
Fairfield City Open Libraries 
Liverpool City Libraries 
Wollondilly Library 

Register your interest


South Western Sydney PHN’s role in healthcare

South Western Sydney PHN (SWSPHN) is a not-for-profit organisation funded by the Australian Government. It serves the local government areas of Bankstown, Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Liverpool, Wollondilly and Wingecarribee.

One of the main jobs of SWSPHN is to talk to health professionals and the community to figure out what health services are needed in South Western Sydney and how to improve community health.

A representative from SWSPHN will lead the co-design sessions.

Learn more about how SWSPHN funds services through commissioning
Learn more about Primary Health Networks on the Department of Health and Aged Care website


Project background

Earlier this year, we held community focus groups in South Western Sydney. These groups found our community needs more support for two groups, multicultural communities, and homeless people.

We found a need for a Service Navigator program to link clients with culturally appropriate or accessible services, assist with Medicare applications, provide in-language support, and to provide education on how to navigate the healthcare system.

We are now designing a Service Navigator model which will have a set eligibility criterion to address these needs. The co-design sessions will ensure the model meets the support needs of these groups.

The next step after the co-design meetings is asking providers to apply to deliver the service which will be funded by SWSPHN. SWSPHN already funds Service Navigators, including the care finder service and the mental health navigator.

Register your interest to attend co-design sessions

"*" indicates required fields

Which cohort will you represent?*
These sessions will be held in spoken English.
08 March 2024

Harmony Week, celebrated from 18 to 24 March, celebrates multiculturalism, diversity and inclusion.

Foster cultural safety and inclusivity by using the below links:

Translated information for your patients

Health Resource Directory

Health Resource Directory (HRD) is a collection of easy-to-understand health factsheets which have been formulated under strict clinical guidelines. Factsheets include information about local support and health services, and are available in English, Vietnamese, Simplified Chinese and Arabic. HRD also includes webpages with reliable health information for people who have been diagnosed with a health condition. You can find links to the directory in the For Patient information section of most HealthPathways clinical pages. Visit Health Resource Directory.


HealthPathways is a quick and simple-to-use online clinical decision tool with information on:

  • management and treatment options for clinical conditions
  • educational resources for patients
  • referral information for local services and specialists

Some of the many relevant HealthPathways pages include:

05 March 2024

The Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) uses interpreters to ensure equitable access to healthcare.

Family members may be unable to translate complex medical information, but TIS can help by providing support in more than 150 languages.

GPs can access the service free to provide Medicare rebateable services.

Use an interpreter to:

  • break down language barriers between you and your non-English speaking patient
  • empower diverse communities to access the healthcare services they need
  • foster inclusivity and promote better health outcomes for everyone

You can contact TIS National Contact Centre on 131 450:

  • for immediate phone interpreting
  • to pre-book a FREE interpreter

Register for TIS National services

 Time poor, jump the queue: 

The Automated Telephone Interpreting Service (ATIS) is an automated interpreting service GPs can call for direct and immediate access to a phone interpreter.

It is available in more than 50 languages.                    

GPs can access the service by calling 1800 131 450. To use ATIS you need to have a: TIS National client code; ATIS account number; and an ATIS access number. There is no cost for this service for GPs with a TIS account. How do I use ATIS?

Find out more:

SWSPHN Primary Care Resources

TIS National

20 February 2024

TAFE NSW Bankstown is seeking general practices in South Western Sydney willing to host one of 30 TAFE students to do general administration work experience at their service.

The students are undertaking the Refugee and Migrant Health Career Pathway program, a partnership between TAFE NSW, Canterbury Hospital, Bankstown Hospital and Metro Assist.

The program has three elements:

  1. Certificate I Workplace Skills – term 1
  2. Vocational Language and Employment Preparation (health industry focused) – term 2
  3. Up to 30 hours work experience – term 2 (May/ June 2024)

The employment pathway for these students may include:

  • receptionist
  • administration assistance
  • data entry
  • filing and sorting medical and centre records

Many of the students enrolled in the program are newly arrived or have been in Australia for less than 10 years. The program aims to build the skills of students and provide an opportunity to do work experience which can be added to their resume.

TAFE NSW will cover their workers compensation element of the work experience, as long as they are TAFE NSW students.

If your practice is able to take on a student for work experience during May/June 2024, please email Myriam Bahari at myriam.bahari4@tafensw.edu.au or call on 0491 214 933 by 15 March 2024.

08 December 2023

Have you recently arrived in Australia from Gaza on a Visitor Visa due to the current conflict?

Or are you hosting family members from Gaza and require support?

SSI Crisis Arrival Response Support (NSW) case workers are available to offer advice and guidance.

SSI’s flyer with more information is available in English and Arabic.

SSI can be contacted on 9685 0100.

30 November 2023

The recent violence in Gaza and Israel is resonating within communities across Australia, including those in South Western Sydney. It may also be impacting you directly, people you know or the individuals you serve.

There are valuable resources available to support those impacted during this challenging period.

SWSPHN-commissioned services

Clinical Suicide Prevention Service


Head to Health

Lifeline – suicide support services

NewAccess South Western Sydney






Lifeline: call 13 11 14 (24/7) OR text 0477 131 114 (6pm to 12am, seven days)

Kids Helpline (for children and young people five to 25 years): 1800 551 800 (24/7) OR chat online

Beyond Blue Support Service: 1300 224 636 (24/7) OR chat online

MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978 (24/7) OR chat online

GriefLine: 1300 845 745 (12pm to 3am, seven days)


Local services

NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS)

CORE Community Services

Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre


NSW Health

Directory of mental health services and programs  

Transcultural Mental Health Line1800 648 911


Department of Health and Aged Care

National mental health services (this directory is translated into key languages) 



Department of Education

Support in times of crisis  

Strengthening harmony and building resilience in school communities

Information about Anti-Racism Contact Officers and resources to support their role  

National mental health services (this directory is translated into key languages) 


Witness to War

Witness to War is a free, confidential multilingual telephone hotline for people in Australia affected by overseas conflicts.

Call 1800 845 198  Monday to Friday, 10am to 7pm.

Witness to War staff can talk to you in Arabic, Hebrew, Dari, Ukrainian, English and in other languages with an interpreter.


NSW Police Force

If you or your follow community members ever feel unsafe or threatened, call 000 if it is an emergency, call the Police Assistance Line on 131 444, or contact your local Police Area Command

How to report hate crimes


Anti-Discrimination NSW

Online incident reporting


Other avenues of assistance

Contact your local doctor/GP. 

Community members from refugee backgrounds who need mental health support can be referred to the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Services (NSW STARTTS). Phone  9646 6800.


Information for people impacted by distressing events

It is normal to have strong emotional and/or physical reactions following a distressing event, including crises like those now being experienced in Gaza and Israel. These reactions may be experienced if you were directly or indirectly exposed.

Almost everyone who experiences a distressing event will be emotionally affected, but not everyone will respond in the same way.


Possible reactions to traumatic events include:

  • Feeling stressed, anxious, exhausted or confused
  • Feeling sad, overwhelmed or angry
  • Shock, feeling ‘numb’
  • Uncertainty about the future
  • Feeling lonely, isolated or withdrawn
  • Feeling unwell – headaches, difficulty sleeping, eating, weight loss/gain
  • Resentment or blaming others
  • Increased substance use
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm

For most, these reactions subside over a few days or weeks.


When to seek help:

If distress lasts longer than one month, it is a good idea to seek the support of a health professional. Talking to your GP about how you are feeling is a good place to start.

Only some people who are distressed after a traumatic event will develop a mental illness such as Post Traumatic Distress Disorder (PTSD), Depression or Anxiety.


Self-help strategies:

  • Find a safe place to stay
  • Talk to someone you trust
  • Know that how you are feeling is normal result of a traumatic event
  • Give yourself time, know that the way you are feeling will not last
  • Make time for relaxation
  • Exercise and eat regular, well-balanced meals
  • Restrict stimulants such as tea, coffee, chocolate, soft-drinks and cigarettes
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol
  • Try to get back to your normal routine as soon as possible


Supporting someone you know:

  • Don’t pressure the person into talking
  • Be a good listener
  • Be patient
  • Provide practical support e.g. offer to watch children, pets, do the weekly shopping
  • Encourage the person to take care of themselves and do things they enjoy
  • Take care of yourself


16 November 2023

The Transcultural Mental Health Line, 1800 648 911, is available Monday to Friday, 9am to 4.30pm.

The telephone service is available to support people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities get the help they need, with a specialist team of healthcare professionals who speak their language and understand their mental health concern from shared cultural perspectives.

The service provides brief over-the-phone and telehealth support for callers, including in-language information and support for carers and family members of a person with a mental health concern.

Resources are available in 42 languages.

It also provides information for callers on how to access mental healthcare and will be able to connect them with relevant services and community support.


01 November 2023

Seven South Western Sydney Primary Health Network (SWSPHN) staff attended the Dine for Mind Gala Dinner at the Emporium Function Centre, Bankstown, on Friday, 20 October.  

NSW Governor Margaret Beazley also attended the event as a special guest. 

The Mental Health Foundation Australia (MHFA) organised and hosted the event alongside their NSW Multicultural Attachés and Ambassadors.  

The evening featured delicious food, inspiring stories, multicultural entertainment and dancing, all aimed at actively contributing to expanding the support services in our community.  

Devendra Sapkota, SWSPHN’s Mental Health Service Navigator, MC’d the event in his role as an NSW Multicultural Ambassador for the MHFA.  

The evening also included an auction and raffle, with all proceeds going to the MHFA’s Small Grants Program NSW for disbursement to community mental health support and services in NSW. 

Find out more about Mental Health Foundation Australia 

SWSPHN staff with NSW Governor Margaret Beazley. 
Devendra Sapkota, NSW Multicultural Ambassador for the MHFA.
The Mental Health Foundation Australia and NSW Multicultural Attachés and Ambassadors.
24 July 2023

Resources available in six languages to encourage and prompt older people and their loved ones to think and talk about planning for later life.


The Australian Human Rights Commission is undertaking a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of planning ahead for later life.

Future planning empowers older people to have choice and control over their senior years and provides peace of mind for them and their loved ones.

It involves thinking and talking to those you trust about your future healthcare, financial and lifestyle choices.

A suite of resources is available in English, Mandarin, Italian, Vietnamese, Greek and Arabic to encourage and prompt older people and their loved ones to think and talk about planning for later life.

Visit this Australian Human Rights Commission webpage to find:

  • Social media assets
  • Community videos
  • Conversation guides
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Radio ads