02 April 2024

Nominate a Medicare Champion

To mark the 40th anniversary of Medicare, the Department of Health and Aged Care is holding the Stronger Medicare Awards to honour the significant contributions of those working in the primary care sector and to showcase the vital role they play in Australia’s healthcare system.  

The awards recognise and honour Medicare Champions – outstanding individuals and practices which provide exceptional care, embrace innovation, and work together to improve the health of their community.

Medicare Champions are individuals and practices which go above and beyond in caring for benefit patients.

Nominations are open to individual health professionals, practices or health centres, as well as multi-disciplinary teams working across the full range of primary care services.

Nominations are also open to the many hard-working people who do not have professional qualifications in healthcare, but work for primary care services to help patients access the care they need, when and where they need it.

Find out more
26 March 2024

Practice managers are invited to the first of SWSPHN’s annual brainstorming workshops aimed at equipping practice managers with the knowledge, tools and strategies to run their practices more efficiently.

All practice managers across the region are invited to PM Efficiency Tips & Tricks, face-to-face workshops to be held at Bowral and Warwick Farm in April and May.

Director and Practice Coach, Kim Poyner, from the Practice Excellence Institute, is guest speaker at both events and will focus on supporting practice managers to facilitate change within their practice during the first half of the workshop.

Ms Poyner will:

  • explore the starting points by identifying key areas and initiatives where change can be effectively introduced in general practices.
  • cultivate a change mindset by discussing the importance of embracing change as an opportunity for growth and learning, and how to foster a positive attitude towards change within the team.
  • co-designing next steps with your team by engaging participants in collaborative exercises and discussions to co-create actionable plans for implementing change initiatives in a manner aligned with the needs and aspirations of the team.
  • provide tips to communicate change with your team by sharing practical strategies and tips to effectively communicate change to the team, ensure understanding, manage resistance, and promote ownership and commitment.

In the second half of the workshop, practice managers will be invited to join a group discussion to brainstorm ideas about the areas in which they would most benefit from upskilling, and how SWSPHN can best support them through continuing professional development (CPD) activities throughout the year.

Workshop details:

Date: Thursday, 18 April

Time: 6pm for 6.30pm to 8pm

Venue: Highlands Specialist Hub, 113 Bowral Street, Bowral

Register here

Date: Thursday, 2 May

Time: 6pm for 6.30pm to 8pm

Venue: Holiday Inn, Warwick Farm, 355 Hume Highway, Warwick Farm

Register here

Parking available at the rear and light refreshments will be provided.

13 March 2024

GPs are invited to a series of SWSPHN-organised CPD sessions focused on managing stress, and creating a more effective and fulfilling work environment.

Four non-clinical education activities, called GP Living 101, will be held this year for general practices in our region, with topics including:

  • tax and property (Zoom) – 9 April
  • personal wellbeing (Holiday Inn, Warwick Farm) – 23 May
  • MyMedicare (Zoom) – 24 July
  • Medico-Legal (Zoom) – 11 September

GP Living 101 recognises the importance of providing holistic support to our GP workforce, which is increasingly under pressure from growing workloads.

It aims to share localised, practical advice on running practices more efficiently, and the tools to improve the wellbeing of staff.

If you would like to submit questions for the presenters before the meetings, please click this link.

GP Living 101meeting details

Webinar: Tax and property – Tuesday, 9 April, 7pm to 8.30pm

Presenter Sam Kayal, Director, Kayal Partners (chartered accountants and tax agents), will discuss:

  • updates on tax changes
  • maximising tax investment opportunities
  • legally managing tax affairs

Presenter Roy Halabi, GPS Properties, will discuss:

  • updates on where the property market is at
  • investment opportunities
  • buyer’s agent opportunities

Register for this webinar

Face-to-face, Holiday Inn Warwick Farm: Reflective writing for clinician wellbeing – Thursday, 23 May, 7pm for 7.30pm start, to 9.30pm

Presenter, Dr Hilton Koppe, author of One Curious Doctor. A Memoir of Medicine, Migration and Mortality, will offer participants the opportunity to experience the benefits of reflective writing.

During the session, brief but fun reflective writing exercises will be explained, and participants will have fun playing with words on the page.

The session aims to highlight reflective writing as an easily accessible tool which can assist in improving clinician wellbeing.

Webinar: Navigating MyMedicare, a guide for general practice – Wednesday, 24 July, 7pm to 8.30pm

Presenter Wendy O’Meara, Associate Education Consultant, will provide an overview of MyMedicare, the changes expected in 2024 and what general practice staff need to know to make the most of the program.

The session will discuss the importance of planning for the changes within the practice and provide guidance on resources to assist with preparing for the changes to maximise available incentives and improve efficiencies.

Webinar: Medico-Legal, requirements and legislation – Wednesday, 11 September, 7pm to 8.30pm

Speaker to be advised.

07 March 2024

International Women’s Day (IWD) is held each year on 8 March to:
• celebrate women’s achievements
• raise awareness about discrimination
• take action to drive gender parity

This year’s theme is #InspireInclusion.

When we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we forge a better world. And when women themselves are inspired to be included, there’s a sense of belonging, relevance and empowerment.

The aim of the IWD 2024 #InspireInclusion campaign is to collectively forge a more inclusive world for women.

We can all challenge gender stereotypes, call out discrimination, draw attention to bias, and seek out inclusion.

SWSPHN staff celebrate International Women's Day

SWSPHN staff celebrate International Women’s Day


To mark International Women’s Day we’ve asked SWSPHN’s Executive Team and other staff answer: Why is International Women’s Day important to you?

Here’s what they said:

Alyssa Horgan, Integration and Priority Populations Coordinator
To me International Women’s Day is an important opportunity for women to band together and to recognise our collective strengths. It is an important reminder for us to reflect on how far women’s rights have come, and to refocus on the work that is still to be done. It provides a platform for us to shine a light on the issues that are important to women, and to bring issues such as the gender pay gap into the forefront of the public sphere.

Ben Neville, Integration and Priority Populations Manager
In my career, I have worked in services providing domestic violence counselling for victims and run programs for perpetrators. I have seen firsthand the impacts the continued gender imbalance causes and how it maintains a culture where male privilege and machoism is expected. To me International Women’s Day helps to keep in our collective conscience that despite the platitudes, women are still not considered, paid or treated as equals.

Pritika Desai, Mental Health and AOD Team Lead
International Women’s Day is important to me because it recognises the challenges women (including non-binary identifying people) face for equity and equality throughout their lives, but also celebrates every woman and non-binary person who works hard to break through stereotypes and barriers, paving the way for those that follow. To me, that is every one of us however little or big our contribution, it all matters.

Keith McDonald, Chief Executive Officer
Frankly, without women it’s all over… it’s a day to acknowledge that every day since civilised cultures have existed, each of us has relied on the feminine life force to sustain us. Strength through an intricate weave of passion, resilience, insight, care and nurturing – all too often this is taken for granted. Viva le donne!”

05 March 2024

Southern Highlands GPs are invited to Specialists Unplugged – an opportunity to meet and establish relationships with local specialists, find out about new techniques and share experiences with your peers – at the Highlands Specialist Hub, Bowral.

The first meeting for 2024 is on Tuesday, 26 March, 6pm for a 6.30pm to 8pm get-together, where you’ll be able to grab a drink, a bite to eat and ask questions of specialists to assist you in supporting patients before, during and after the referral process.

The Specialists Unplugged meetings were first held before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and were well-received by participants. Meetings will be held quarterly and follow the same format. It is anticipated the series will eventually be rolled out at hospitals across South Western Sydney.

Those who attend the first meeting will meet gastroenterologist Dr Elizabeth O’Brien, who works at Bowral District Hospital and Southern Highlands Private Hospital, in addition to the Highlands Specialist Hub. 

Dr O’Brien believes in the value of continuity of care and a holistic approach to management.

Her interests include: colorectal cancer screening; gastrointestinal bleeding; positive FOBTs; Inflammatory Bowel Disease; liver diseases; and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

SWSPHN Primary Workforce Manager Bianca Lean encouraged GPs to take part in the small group meetings and to get to know the specialists who work at their local hospitals in an informal setting, with an open discussion and no set agenda.

“Building stronger relationships between GPs and specialists in their local area will make it easier for primary carers to stay up-to-date with changes and new techniques in a variety of specialities, and ensure they are better able to work together to streamline referral processes,” she said.

“GPs will also benefit from improved access to support in managing complex cases and guidance on where best to refer their patients, ultimately providing better outcomes for patients.”

GPs can self-record their CPD Hours for Specialists Unplugged. If you would like to know how to self-record CPD Hours, please stay behind after the meeting and our team will walk you through it.

If you would like to submit questions for the specialists before the meeting, please click this link.

Highlands Specialist Hub is at 113 Bowral Street, Bowral. There is parking at the rear of the building.

Light refreshments are provided.

Register for Specialists Unplugged – 26 March

Meetings are also planned for Tuesday, 4 June and Tuesday, 3 September (specialists yet to be confirmed), both at the Highlands Specialist Hub.

Email cpd@swsphn.com.au for more information about Specialists Unplugged.

20 February 2024

Community members, health professionals and service providers are invited to join South Western Sydney Primary Health Network (SWSPHN) to share their experiences and discuss how the health of our region can be improved.

SWSPHN hosts Local Health Forums twice a year to focus on health topics important to people living in our community. The topic for the upcoming forums is ‘supporting primary healthcare’.

Primary healthcare is care given to you in the community. It includes GPs, nurses, allied health, pharmacy and support services. It does not include care at a hospital.

SWSPHN Chief Executive Officer, Dr Keith McDonald PhD, said the local health forums were essential to better understanding how SWSPHN could enhance the primary healthcare workforce to ensure quality healthcare was delivered in our community.


“Our primary healthcare industry is becoming stronger every day. However, we want to understand the primary care workforce’s challenges in recruitment and retention, learn about consumers’ experiences, and identify opportunities and priorities in our primary healthcare workforce.”


The Local Health Forums provide a supportive environment for brainstorming ideas aimed at improving health outcomes in our region.


“This is the fourth round of Local Health Forums held by SWSPHN; each forum reinforces the importance of engaging and collaborating with our community to identify areas for improvement and develop solutions to help enhance primary healthcare services in our region,” Dr McDonald said.


Previously, SWSPHN Local Health Forums have focused on chronic disease, care finder services and barriers to accessing mental health services.

The information shared during these forums will help SWSPHN understand the challenges and barriers health professionals and patients face when accessing healthcare.

Details for the upcoming forums:


Bankstown, Fairfield, Liverpool:
  • Thursday, 14 March, 6.30pm to 9pm, Holiday Inn, Warwick Farm 
Warwick Farm: Register via Eventbrite


Campbelltown, Camden:
  • Wednesday, 3 April, 6.30pm to 9pm, Rydges, Campbelltown
Campbelltown: Register via Eventbrite
Southern Highlands:
  • Thursday, 11 April, 6.30pm to 9pm, Mittagong RSL Club, Mittagong
Mittagong: Register via Eventbrite
  • Wednesday, 24 April, 6.30pm to 9pm, Bankstown Library and Knowledge Centre
Bankstown: Register via Eventbrite

A two-course buffet dinner will be provided on the night.


An online survey is also available for people who would like to contribute but cannot attend.

29 January 2024

SWSPHN is providing free, on-site training and ongoing support to equip GPs in South Western Sydney with the skills to more effectively refer patients to mental health services.

The Initial Assessment and Referral (IAR) Decision Support Tool (DST), an initiative of the Department of Health and Aged Care, is a nationally-consistent, evidence-based and objective approach to initial assessment and referral of patients seeking mental health support.

All federally-funded mental health services will soon be using the IAR-DST, standardising how referrals are made and making it less likely your referrals will be refused.

If you want to ensure you’re prepared for the change, we can help.

Contact SWSPHN Workforce Development Officer Brendan Chiew (pictured) at brendan.chiew@swsphn.com.au or by calling 9896 9540 for more information or to arrange IAR-DST training for GPs at your practice.

In addition to on-site training, training will be held at sites across the region in 2024. The first workshop will be held on Tuesday, 12 March from 7pm to 9.30pm at Level 2, Bryan Brown Theatre and Function Centre, corner of Rickard and Chapel Roads, Bankstown.

Register here

A $300 once-off incentive payment is available per GP and CPD hours apply.

Find out more about IAR-DST
15 January 2024

SWSPHN is seeking expressions of interest from experienced GPs to take on a GP advisory role in the Primary Care Workforce Team. 

GP Advisors will facilitate stakeholder engagement and consultation and provide guidance on the planning and implementation of SWSPHN initiatives as required.

GP Advisors will also provide local clinical input into the GP Workforce Planning and Prioritisation program, a national program to advise the Department of Health and Aged Care on priority locations for GP registrar training placements to meet current and future GP workforce needs.

This will inform the future distribution of the GP registrar workforce across communities in South Western Sydney and support broader workforce engagement, development and strategy planning.

To apply for this role, you must:


  • Have a minimum of five years’ experience working as a GP in ACT/NSW and have a sound understanding of PHNs and their purpose
  • Have highly effective advocacy and stakeholder engagement skills including experience in small group facilitation and delivering presentations


  • Be an accredited GP Supervisor with RACGP or ACRRM and have relevant and current knowledge of the Australian General Practice Training Program and the emerging challenges and opportunities related to GP training in Australia

Time commitment and remuneration:

Work will be assigned to GP Advisors on an as-needs basis and will vary according to business requirements.

GPs Advisors will be given notice of work at least four weeks in advance to ensure the timing and expectations of the tasks are appropriate.

GP Advisors will be engaged as independent contractors and will invoice SWSPHN for hours of engagement at a rate of $150/hour (GST and superannuation inclusive).

How can you be involved?

If you are interested in becoming a Primary Care Workforce GP Advisor for SWSPHN, please see the full Job Description and fill in the Expression of Interest form.

EOI closes Friday, 9 February.

For more information please contact:

09 January 2024

Receive free Authorised Nurse Immuniser in NSW training and administer vaccinations independent of a medical officer.

Registered nurses who work in general practice or residential aged care homes in South Western Sydney have the opportunity for 100 per cent cost reimbursed training to become an Authorised Nurse Immuniser in NSW.

Completion of the Immunisation Endorsement Pathway (Nurse Immuniser) course authorises nurses to administer vaccinations independent of a medical officer. The course is delivered by The Benchmarque Group.

An increase in the number of Authorised Nurse Immunisers will support the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations in our region to healthcare workers, vulnerable populations and the general community.


Training entry criteria

  1. You must currently be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia as a registered nurse or midwife.
  2. You must be working within the nursing profession in a general practice or residential aged care home located in the local government area of Bankstown, Campbelltown, Camden, Fairfield, Liverpool, Wollondilly or Wingecarribee.
  3. You must have two to three years’ experience within the nursing profession since initial registration, with the last 12 months prior to making the application spent in employment in NSW or the ACT.


100 per cent reimbursement of course fee

Complete the course in 2024 to receive a 100 per cent reimbursement of the course fee. 

Submit completed forms in the below order before 30 December 2024 to receive your payment.

  1. completed reimbursement form (linked below)
  2. completion certificate
  3. invoice
Reimbursement form

Nurse Immunisation Training EOI

Complete this expression of interest to undertake nurse immunisation training.

"*" indicates required fields

Tick all statements which apply to you.


Funding for this initiative is provided by the Department of Health and Aged Care.

More training available for practice staff


Participants with any questions can email covid19@swsphn.com.au

15 November 2023

Are you a GP Registrar Supervisor in South Western Sydney?

We’d like to invite you and the registrar you supervise to our first Registrar Supper Club on Tuesday, 21 November, from 7pm to 8.30pm at Rydges Campbelltown, 12 Old Menangle Road, Campbelltown.

Our supper club aims to welcome registrars to our region, provide an opportunity to share ideas and support registrars to get the most from their training terms in South Western Sydney.

Over free food and beverages, you will make new connections and hear from Dr Lance Holland-Keen, a GP at Gregory Hills who completed his registrar training in South Western Sydney, fell in love with the region and decided to continue practising here.

You will hear firsthand from our CEO, Dr Keith McDonald PhD, and SWSPHN managers about how we support the primary care workforce, and how you can utilise our services to provide the best patient care.

If you have ideas on how registrars can be better supported in our region, the supper club will be an excellent opportunity for you to share your experience.

Please register for the supper club here.

Contact SWSPHN Workforce Development Team Lead, Allison Tran, on 0417 473 278 to find out more.