10 May 2023

The strong focus on primary care, with the tripling of the bulk billing incentive and investment in the health workforce to better meet the health needs of the Australians in the 21st century, were among the welcome features of Tuesday’s Federal Budget.

South Western Sydney Primary Health Network (SWSPHN) Acting Chief Executive Officer, Kristen Short, said there was little doubt primary care had been struggling in recent years, with fewer practices in a position to bulk bill, further highlighting the need for strong and ongoing funding commitment for the sector.

“The $3.5 billion committed to bulk billing incentives, $98.2 million for new Medicare rebates for patients who require consultations of longer than 60 minutes and $445.1 million to support team-based care in general practice, are welcome measures to support the revival and protection of a healthcare system which has served us well for decades,” she said.

Other investments of interest to primary care, in particular general practices in South Western Sydney include:

  • $358.5 million for Medicare Urgent Care Clinics
  • $143.9 million for after hours primary care
  • $91.5 million to improve mental health by addressing workforce shortages

Ms Short said SWSPHN had a particular focus on innovative projects like iRAD, the New to General Practice Nursing program and My Care Partners to build capacity and support our general practices in delivering accessible, effective and timely care to our community.

She noted investment in digital health ($951.2 million); increasing the number of nurses in primary care ($10.7 million); and increasing incentives for general practices to employ a range of health professionals to provide team-based primary care ($445.1 million) would support those projects which were already improving the health of our region.

“Primary care is the cornerstone of our healthcare system, and SWSPHN looks forward to continuing to work with and support primary care providers across our region on the projects, services and other activities funded in this budget.

“We particularly welcome the focus in the budget on multidisciplinary team care and voluntary patient enrolment and look forward to seeing how it complements our local medical neighbourhood model of care, My Care Partners, which has been working for the past two years to reduce avoidable hospital admissions and enhance care coordination for people with multiple chronic diseases.”

22 March 2023

SWSPHN staff joined the Harmony Week celebrations last week with activities which gave everyone the opportunity to share, learn and appreciate Australian multiculturalism.

Harmony Week, 20 to 26 March, is about inclusiveness, respect and belonging for all Australians, regardless of cultural or linguistic background, united by a set of core Australian values.

The message of Harmony Week is everyone belongs.

We held our activities on Harmony Day on Tuesday, 21 March.

Our staff wore orange, the colour chosen to represent Harmony Week, while:

  • Enjoying a lunch of flavours from around the world
  • Hearing first-hand the experiences of a staff member who came to Australia as a refugee in 1993 to escape the Bosnian war
  • Pinning our places of cultural identity on a world map
  • Participating in the How diverse is your universe? activity

Harmony Day / Harmony Week









Find out more about Harmony Week
04 November 2022

The SWSPHN Board of Directors is seeking interest from eligible candidates to nominate as a possible independent Chairperson of the SWSPHN Clinical Council.

Particular consideration will be given to candidates who:

  • Are an experienced primary healthcare clinician (preferably a GP)
  • Have a sound understanding of clinical governance, with a demonstrable commitment to the quality and safety of patient care
  • Have a clear appreciation of healthcare needs and challenges relevant to South Western Sydney

Download the EOI
Download the Terms of Reference

This article appeared in Practice Pulse on Wednesday, 2 November 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.

04 November 2022

South Western Sydney Primary Health Network (SWSPHN) notes funding of GP-led urgent care clinics and a new GP grants program as first steps by the new Federal Government in addressing the concerns of our under-pressure primary care system.

Tuesday night’s Budget also confirmed the government’s commitment to establish a new headspace centre in South Western Sydney.

Funding allocations included:

  • $1 million in 2022-23, and $1.4 million per annum from 2023-24, to establish and operate a new headspace centre at Edmondson Park
  • $229.7 million to the Strengthening Medicare GP grants program, one-off grants of up to $50,000 for innovation, training, equipment and minor capital works to improve patient access to care

SWSPHN Chief Executive Officer, Dr Keith McDonald, says substantial investment in the primary care sector is critical now to bolster what is the cornerstone of our health system.

“It’s been a challenging two-and-a half years for us all, but our healthcare providers, including GPs and general practice staff across South Western Sydney, have done it particularly tough during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

“The strain on our healthcare system is becoming increasingly evident with a shortfall in GPs being reported and waiting times for GP appointments growing.”

Dr McDonald said any investment in primary care was welcome, but more support was needed.

“We are eagerly awaiting the recommendations of the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce later this year and look forward to seeing the government build on this investment in next year’s Federal Budget.”

Other budget commitments of note include:

Aged care 

  • $312.6 million to modernise aged care information and communications technology
  • $23.1 million for research and consultation for reforms to in-home aged care

Aboriginal health

  • $164.3 million towards First Nations infrastructure projects
  • $54.3 million for training up to 500 First Nations health workers Mental health
  • $114 million to support mental health and suicide prevention initiatives
  • This includes $23.5 million for an expansion of the headspace network

This article appeared in Practice Pulse on Wednesday, 2 November 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.

28 October 2022

Work, health and safety awareness was the main course at SWSPHN’s SafeTea morning tea on Wednesday (26 October), where almost 40 staff came together to have a conversation about workplace safety.

We hosted the morning tea for National Safe Work Month which highlights the message: being healthy and safe means being free from physical and psychological harm.

Data from Safe Work Australia, which drives the campaign, shows more than 120,000 workers are compensated for a serious work-related injury or illness in Australia each year and just under 200 are fatally injured at work.

However, injury in the workplace is not only physical. The campaign also focuses on how managing risks to mental health– or psychosocial hazards – at work is just as important as managing risks to physical safety.

Our Quality and People Coordinator told the gathering we are “lucky to have an organisation genuinely committed to a mentally safe workplace”.

“Today is a good opportunity to make the connection between physical safety in the workplace and mental health safety and to find out about resources which can help,” she said.

17 August 2022

South Western Sydney Primary Health Network (SWSPHN) Clinical Council is seeking interest from GPs currently practicing within South Western Sydney to nominate as a possible representative on this forum.

When selecting GP representatives for the Clinical Council, consideration is given in particular to:

  • Regional distribution
  • Gender balance
  • Cultural diversity

The Clinical Council is an advisory committee

The SWSPHN Clinical Council is an advisory committee reports to the Board of the SWSPHN. It reports on clinical issues to influence SWSPHN Board decisions with regards to the unique health needs of the communities within this region. The Clinical Council also works in partnership with the South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) and in tandem with the SWSPHN Community Advisory Committee.

Committee term of office

A term of office on the Clinical Council for GP representatives is reviewed every two years, with an option of one renewal (i.e a four year maximum term).

Meeting frequency

The Clinical Council meets for two hours bimonthly, or more frequently if required. Meetings are hosted at the SWSPHN Campbelltown office, with the option for virtual participation.


As a member of the SWSPHN Clinical Council, representatives are remunerated a standard rate for their participation.

Terms of reference

Download the terms of reference document for full details.

Clinical Council Terms of Reference

Submitting your EOI

Thank you for taking the time to consider nominating as a representative to be part of the SWSPHN Clinical Council. 

If you wish to express interest or have any questions, please contact Executive Assistant Melissa McIntyre at melissa.mcintyre@swsphn.com.au.

16 August 2022

SWSPHN commissioned Aboriginal artist, Danielle Mate (pictured with SWSPHN CEO, Dr Keith McDonald PhD), to create a new artwork for the foyer of our new office at Level 2, 1 Bolger Street, Campbelltown.

The artwork, called Moving Forward, represents our organisation’s continuing journey towards reconciliation, and better understanding, acknowledging and respecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their cultures.

Here is the story:

  • The circles within circles represent a meeting place, common ground which is SWSPHN
  • The journey lines depict the continuous work SWSPHN is doing to understand, acknowledge and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their cultures
  • The U shapes symbolise people. The different shapes and sizes show we are all individuals, men and women, working together, inclusive
  • The blue roots anchor the team and are fundamental to growth
02 August 2022

Click here to chose your surveyEvery two years SWSPHN asks GPs, Practice Nurses and Practice Managers to take 15-20 minutes out of their day to complete the General Practice and Primary Care Needs Survey, which is used to shape the future of primary care in South Western Sydney.


This is an opportunity for health professionals to share their views on health integration, capacity building, and needs gaps within primary care. Your feedback contributes towards planning for a sustainable primary healthcare workforce, helping healthcare workers and SWSPHN to become empowered to build a healthier South Western Sydney community.


Survey takes 15-20 minutes

If you complete only one survey this year, this should be the one.

This survey takes place once every two years and is important for SWSPHN to plan for improved integrated and co-ordinated healthcare services in South Western Sydney.

And the odds of you winning an exciting adventure are pretty good!


Win one of three $200 RedBalloon gift cards

One GP, Practice Nurse and Practice Manager practicing within South Western Sydney has the chance to win a $200 RedBalloon gift card. At the end of the survey, you have the option to complete your contact details, which are kept separate from your survey feedback.

Visit RedBalloon to plan your next adventure


Take the survey based on your role:

GP Survey

GPs practicing in South Western Sydney, take this survey for your chance to WIN a $200 RedBalloon gift voucher.


Practice Nurse Survey

Practice Nurses practicing in South Western Sydney, take this survey for your chance to WIN a $200 RedBalloon gift voucher.


Practice Manager Survey

Practice Managers working in South Western Sydney, take this survey for your chance to WIN a $200 RedBalloon gift voucher.



Survey results are confidential

All survey responses are anonymous. The contact information you provide for the prize draw is kept separate from the rest of the survey.


19 May 2022

Local artist, Danielle Mate, was commissioned to create an artwork that represented the role of South Western Sydney PHN. Here is the story:

The centre oval represents South Western Sydney GPs, practice nurses and other primary care providers.

The large U shape that wraps around the central oval represents the support that PHNs provide to local primary care providers.

The seven segments within this U shape represents the seven local government areas that South Western Sydney PHN supports.

The lines that lead from the centre oval to the community symbolise the role of these primary care providers to ‘feed’ information to their clients and the wider community. The connected shapes are people, each shape is represented differently, to symbolise their individual needs. The outer u-shaped layer around the people show the information building that strengthens them, allowing them to make well informed choices.

Seven background layers represent the national health priorities.

Read more about Danielle Mate at www.daniellemate.com.au